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Iranian, Russian Officials Meet On Nuclear Issues

Iran's nuclear plant at Bushehr (file photo) (AFP) 7 January 2006 -- Iranian and Russian delegations launched closed-door meetings in Tehran on 7 January to discuss Iran's contentious nuclear program.

Iran's National Security Council spokesman, Hossein Entezami, said that a Russian proposal to enrich Iranian uranium on Russian soil as well as the joint nuclear power plant in the southern Persian Gulf port of Bushehr is on the agenda.

The Russian delegation includes Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak, as well as officials from the Foreign Ministry and the Atomic Energy Agency.

Russia is proposing that Tehran carry out uranium enrichment on its territory to allay fears that the technology could allow Iran to produce nuclear weapons. That proposal has been backed in principal by U.S. officials.

The United States has repeatedly accused Iranian officials of a covert effort to develop nuclear weapons, and has backed efforts by the so-called EU-3 (Britain, France, and Germany) to negotiate stricter limits on Iran's nuclear activities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, has also chided Tehran for failing to comply fully with its obligations to disclose nuclear activities.

Iranian officials have staunchly defended their right to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and insisted that their oil-rich country's nuclear program is aimed solely at providing energy.

EU Warns Iran Over Uranium Enrichment

The European Union, which has long tried to negotiate an end to Iran's nuclear program for political and economic concessions, said today that further talks are in "jeopardy" if that country starts enriching uranium.

Earlier this week, Iran said it will continue carrying out nuclear research -- a statement that has been taken to imply uranium enrichment with a view to developing a complete nuclear cycle.

A statement issued by Austria's rotating EU Presidency today said such a move would violate eight previous resolutions adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that call for a suspension of the Iranian nuclear program.

The EU, backed by the United States, fears Iran may be secretly trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran denies any such intention.


Iran's Nuclear Program

Iran's Nuclear Program

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


An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.