Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Iran Nuclear Talks: Nearly Faltered

High-stake talks between Iran and big powers will resume on Wednesday after they seemed to be faltering today. Iran has reportedly insisted to be able to continue its uranium enrichment program, but the west wants to curb Iran’s enrichment activities.

“I believe we are making progress. It is maybe slower than I expected. But we are moving forward and we are going to meet tomorrow [Wednesday] at 10 am (Vienna time),” said Mohamed ElBaradei, IAEA chief.

ElBaradei told reporters tonight that some headway was made in separate bilateral consultations involving Iran, France, Russia and the United States and a deal remained “within reach.”

"It's a complex process as you understand. There is the technical aspect, many technical issues that we have to analyze. There is of course a question of confidence-building guarantees [by Iran]," he said.

The two sides had made a tentative agreement at their October 1 meeting in Geneva to have Iran transfer most of its stockpile of enriched uranium to Russia and France, and in return obtain higher-grade enriched uranium for use in a research reactor in Tehran. The current round of talks was to resolve all outstanding issues with regards to the country’s enrichment program.

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