Saturday, January 22, 2011

Talks Between Iran and the West Continues

Talks Between Iran and the West Continues

21 January 2011
Last updated at 23:41 ET

Talks between Iranian officials and Western powers trying to curb Iran's nuclear programme are continuing for a second day.

But there are doubts over whether the discussions will even broach the subject of Iranian uranium enrichment.

Iran says it wants to focus instead on such issues as global disarmament and Israel's suspected nuclear arsenal.

The US and other Western powers say Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denies.

EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton is heading a delegation from China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and US, at the talks in Istanbul.

Western diplomats say that the first negotiating session on Friday did not get into any detail, while Iran described this session as positive, the BBC's James Reynolds reports from Istanbul.

Iran is talking to a group of six world powers. That much we know. But whether the two sides are talking about the same thing is not yet clear.
Western officials have said that they want Iran to discuss its nuclear programme in detail. But Iran's state media doesn't even use the word "nuclear" when it refers to these talks. Instead it calls them talks to find "common grounds for co-operation" - a rather more vague concept.

After the final series of meetings in the morning, the two sides will have to decide whether or not they've reached any agreement - or had any meaningful conversation - at all.

A second smaller meeting later in the day also avoided detail, he reports, and by this stage one Western diplomat said world powers were very angry with and frustrated by Iran's behaviour.

In Washington, US state department spokesman PJ Crowley said: "We are fully prepared to have a conversation with Iran, but whether it will happen remains to be seen."

Negotiators had been expected once again to propose a fuel-swap deal under which Iran would give up an agreed amount of its low-enriched uranium in return for fuel for a research reactor.

But two such proposals have previously failed.

Diplomats said that in talks that stretched long into the evening on Friday, a possible swap was outlined but not offered.

Uranium enriched to a low level is used for nuclear fuel, but highly enriched uranium can be used in nuclear weapons.

No comments: