Nuclear experts from Iran and six world powers are due to start a week of talks in New York aimed at reaching a permanent agreement that limits Iran’s nuclear program and eases Western concerns Tehran is trying to produce nuclear weapons.
The negotiators from Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States still need to resolve the most difficult issues on a permanent agreement before a July 20 deadline that was established under a temporary agreement in November.
But hopes for a deal have been bolstered by Tehran’s May 4 announcement that it was allowing a visit by international nuclear inspectors this week.
A team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived on May 5 in Iran, where it will visit a uranium mine and a uranium-processing facility on May 5-6.
Tehran said it will be able to declare after the inspections that it has fulfilled all seven measures agreed in February between Iran and the IAEA, the UN's nuclear watchdog.
Iran is required to meet those demands by May 15.
Under the initial nuclear deal reached by Iran and world powers in November, Tehran stopped enrichment of uranium to 20 percent -- a possible pathway to developing a nuclear weapons capability -- in exchange for the easing of some Western sanctions.
Tehran also agreed to dilute half of its existing 20 percent-enriched-uranium stockpile to the 5 percent level and transform the rest into oxide, which is very difficult to use for bomb-making materials.
The talks from May 5 to May 9 in New York are preparing for the next ministerial-level negotiations in Vienna on May 13.
Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and IRNA