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Solana Meets Iran's Larijani In Madrid --> Solana and Larijani at a meeting in February (AFP) June 1, 2007 -- Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana concluded talks in Madrid aimed at ending the standoff with Tehran over its nuclear program.

Both sides said they had constructive talks at the May 31 meeting, and agreed to intensify their dialogue with another face-to-face meeting in two weeks' time.

Brussels and Washington have made it clear that Iran needs to suspend its uranium-enrichment program before formal talks can begin. But Larijani again reiterated Iran's stance that a suspension of its nuclear program is out of the question.

Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Iran must agree to freeze its uranium enrichment activities if it is to avoid becoming more isolated from the international community.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. But Western countries are concerned that Iran could use its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons.

(compiled from agency reports)

Talking Technical

A control panel at the Bushehr nuclear power plant (Fars)

CASCADES AND CENTRIFUGES: Experts and pundits alike continue to debate the goals and status of Iran's nuclear program. It remains unclear whether the program is, as Tehran insists, a purely peaceful enegy project or, as the United States claims, part of an effort to acquire nuclear weapons.
On June 7, 2006, RFE/RL correspondent Charles Recknagel spoke with nuclear expert Shannon Kile of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden to help sort through some of the technical issues involved. "[Natanz] will be quite a large plant," Kile said. "There will be about 50,000 centrifuges and how much enriched uranium that can produce [is] hard to say because the efficiency of the centrifuges is not really known yet. But it would clearly be enough to be able to produce enough [highly-enriched uranium] for a nuclear weapon in fairly short order, if that's the route that they chose to go...." (more)


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THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.


An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.