Key Nations Huddle on Iran Nuclear Standoff

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
May 1, 2014, 7:47 a.m.

Ne­go­ti­at­ors for six ma­jor gov­ern­ments con­ferred on how to haggle with Ir­an over atom­ic as­sets of po­ten­tial use to build nuc­le­ar bombs, Re­u­ters re­ports.

The five per­man­ent U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil mem­ber na­tions and Ger­many dis­cussed the mat­ter at a high-level gath­er­ing on Wed­nes­day in Brus­sels, Bel­gi­um, less than two weeks be­fore they are ex­pec­ted to join Ir­an to be­gin for­mu­lat­ing the core com­pon­ents of a pos­sible long-term atom­ic set­tle­ment. The six powers are seek­ing to rein in ef­forts that could en­able the Per­sian Gulf power to con­struct nuc­le­ar arms, though Tehran main­tains its atom­ic activ­it­ies are solely peace­ful.

Par­ti­cipants offered no spe­cif­ics on the latest meet­ing of en­voys from China, France, Ger­many, Rus­sia, the United King­dom and the United States.

A spokes­wo­man for European Uni­on for­eign policy chief Cath­er­ine Ashton, though, said the ses­sion was “use­ful.” Ashton has com­mu­nic­ated with Tehran on be­half of the “P-5+1” powers.

An en­voy tied to the six na­tions cited a “need to elab­or­ate our po­s­i­tions” for the ne­go­ti­ations, which are set to re­sume with Ir­an on May 13 in Vi­enna. Sev­er­al sig­ni­fic­ant dif­fer­ences re­main between Tehran and the oth­er ne­go­ti­at­ing gov­ern­ments, though the sides re­cently ap­peared to achieve trac­tion in a dis­pute over an un­fin­ished Ir­a­ni­an heavy-wa­ter re­act­or cap­able of gen­er­at­ing bomb-us­able plutoni­um.

Speak­ing an­onym­ously, one dip­lo­mat sug­ges­ted a dis­agree­ment over Ir­an’s urani­um-en­rich­ment ca­pa­city would re­main un­re­solved un­til “Ju­ly 19 in the even­ing,” when an in­ter­im atom­ic deal reached in Novem­ber is set to ex­pire.

Ir­an is cur­rently us­ing roughly 10,000 cent­ri­fuges to re­fine urani­um, a pro­cess cap­able of gen­er­at­ing peace­ful ma­ter­i­al as well as nuc­le­ar-bomb fuel. The United States and its al­lies would likely seek to re­duce Tehran’s quant­ity of the ma­chines to no more than a few thou­sand, ac­cord­ing to Re­u­ters.

Mean­while, Ir­a­ni­an me­dia said Tehran has re­ceived all $4.2 bil­lion in seized rev­en­ue it was prom­ised un­der the six-month in­ter­im pact, the Lon­don Guard­i­an re­por­ted on Thursday.

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