Reuters:Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator said on Wednesday he planned to hold talks with Western officials in Germany, in the first such contacts since the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iran in December.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator said on Wednesday he planned to hold talks with Western officials in Germany, in the first such contacts since the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iran in December.
“On the sidelines of the Munich conference, we will hold negotiations with Western parties,” Ali Larijani was quoted by Iran’s official IRNA news agency as saying.
Larijani did not say whom he would meet at the Feb 9-11 security conference in Munich or what would be discussed. He has previously said he will not meet U.S. officials, who insist they will only talk once Iran stops enriching uranium.
There was no immediate confirmation of any meetings from Western capitals.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are expected to attend.
The West accuses Iran of planning to build atomic bombs. Iran says its nuclear program aims only to make fuel for power stations.
Tehran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment led to the breakdown in October of talks between Iran and world powers led by Solana. The United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain had offered incentives to Iran to halt enrichment.
The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions in December, barring the transfer of sensitive materials and know-how to Tehran and gave it until February 21 to suspend enrichment.
Larijani has not held talks with senior Western officials since the sanctions resolution, but has met other foreign officials, such as Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov in January.
Iran still rejects the demand to halt its atomic work. Diplomats in Vienna, the base for the U.N. watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), say Iran has set up two more cascades of centrifuges to enrich uranium.
IRNA said that Larijani, asked about that report, answered:
“The technical road of Iran’s research and development nuclear work is clear and is under the supervision of the IAEA. There are no secret issues in this regard and we have announced our programs to the agency before.”
Iran already runs two experimental cascades, which Western diplomats say are plagued by technical problems. The two new cascades are the first of 3,000 cascades Iran says it will build as part of plans to carry out “industrial-scale” enrichment.