Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters on his return from Iran today that there is "little time" left for agreements.
"A lot of work still needs to be done, and we have agreed that the talks will continue in Moscow in the very near future," he said. "The talks are not simple; they are complicated. But I would like to repeat that I am confident that a diplomatic solution is possible."
The two sides announced on 26 February that they had agreed in principle that Moscow would supply Iran with enriched uranium it needs for civilian nuclear power plants.
It remains unclear, however, whether Tehran is willing to give up uranium-enrichment activities in Iran entirely. The West is worried that Iran is seeking to develop atomic weapons.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on 27 February called on Iran not to pursue uranium enrichment on its own territory.
European Union officials said on 17 February that they have not yet received confirmation of the tentative deal.
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency is due at a 6 March meeting to recommend whether the UN Security Council should consider punitive sanctions against Iran over the nuclear dispute.
Iran said today it sees "no reason" to back down in the dispute even if brought before the Security Council.
(compiled from agency reports)
READOn 4 February, the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency approved in a 27-3 vote a resolution to report the matter of Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council. The key section of the resolution is Section 1, which states that the Board of Governors:
Underlines that outstanding questions can best be resolved and confidence built in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's program by Iran responding positively to the calls for confidence-building measures which the Board has made on Iran, and in this context deems it necessary for Iran to:
- reestablish full and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and processing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the Agency;
- reconsider the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water;
- ratify promptly and implement in full Additional Protocol;
- pending ratification, continue to act in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol with Iran signed on 18 December 2003;
- implement the transparency measures, as requested by the Director General, which extend beyond the former requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and include such access to individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual use equipment, certain military-owned workshops and research and development as the Agency may request in support of its ongoing investigations.
COMPLETE TEXT: To read the final resolution, with late-hour changes highlighted, click here.