The United Nations Security Council says it could impose sanctions on Iran unless it suspends uranium enrichment, a process that can produce materials used in nuclear weapons. Iran says it is not seeking such weapons.
Rice arrived in Saudi Arabia on October 2 on the first leg of a Middle East tour. Rice's next stop is Egypt. She is also due to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Meanwhile, Russian Security Council chief Igor Ivanov is meeting today with Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, in Tehran.
In telephone talks with U.S President George W. Bush on October 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the need to pursue negotiations with Iran.
For it's part, Iran has proposed that France create a consortium to enrich uranium for Tehran's nuclear program in an effort to end the standoff over the Islamic state's nuclear ambitions.
The deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Saidi, told France Info radio today that the uranium would be enriched on Iranian soil, something the international community has previously rejected. There was no immediate response from the French government.
(compiled from agency reports)
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)