Iran Meeting Plan Hangs in Limbo

Iran and six key nations have yet to settle on a date to resume atomic discussions aimed at addressing international fears that the Middle Eastern nation is pursuing a nuclear-weapon capacity, a European Union insider said in a Thursday report by Reuters.

The assertion followed an Iranian media claim that diplomats from the Persian Gulf regional power were set on Jan. 28 and 29 to hold a new high-level meeting with counterparts from the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany. Tehran, which contends its nuclear program has no military aim, joined three such sessions in 2012 with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“The dates that have been mentioned might be convenient for all parties,” though "nothing has been agreed as of yet," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said to ITAR-Tass on Thursday.

The location for any new gathering also remains undecided, Reuters reported.

“If no agreement is reached about the venue, it is quite possible that this date will be changed,” Ryabkov told ITAR-Tass. “And there is no agreement about the venue so far.”

“Russia is worried about it and is continuing its efforts, including the work with the Iranian partners, to settle this issue as soon as possible,” the envoy added. “But the key channel to agree the venue and the date of the next round is the European Union’s common foreign policy service.”

Western international relations personnel said Tehran had not replied to two or more schedule recommendations, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

“The problem for the Iranians is not the date," one-time Iranian atomic envoy Hossein Mousavian said. "It’s a worry that the meeting will not be successful.”

He added: "[The Iranians] want to have a meeting as soon as possible, but they don’t want to be blamed if there’s another failure.”

Meanwhile, retired U.S. Central Command head William Fallon on Wednesday said any armed offensive launched by Washington against Iranian atomic sites would likely "take several weeks" and delay Tehran's atomic progress by "several years," Agence France-Presse reported.

Elsewhere, Sweden on Wednesday began the trial of a man who allegedly attempted to supply Iran with mechanical control components that have uranium refinement applications, AFP reported separately. Uranium enrichment can yield civilian fuel as well as nuclear-bomb material.

January 17, 2013
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Iran and six key nations have yet to settle on a date to resume atomic discussions aimed at addressing international fears that the Middle Eastern nation is pursuing a nuclear-weapon capacity, a European Union insider said in a Thursday report by Reuters.

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