AP: The five permanent U.N. Security Council members, Germany and the European Union held talks Wednesday in China to restart efforts to ensure Iran's nuclear intentions are peaceful.
The Associated Press
By CARA ANNA
SHANGHAI, China (AP) — The five permanent U.N. Security Council members, Germany and the European Union held talks Wednesday in China to restart efforts to ensure Iran's nuclear intentions are peaceful.
First on the agenda of the closed-door meeting was a package of proposed political, security and economic incentives aimed at pursuading Iran to stop a uranium enrichment program that the U.S. and many of its allies fear could produce material for weapons.
"We are hopeful to reach an agreement," the meeting's chairman, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister, He Yafei, said at the start of talks at a downtown hall.
Talks featured the EU and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — the six countries that have been in the forefront of efforts to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Iran insists its program is intended only to produce energy and Iran has refused to suspend it, despite three rounds of Security Council sanctions.
The one-day meeting in China's financial center, Shanghai, comes a week after Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran was installing thousands of new uranium-enriching centrifuges and testing a much faster version of the device.
But U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned that the claim could not be immediately verified.
Iran has about 3,000 centrifuges operating at its underground nuclear facility in Natanz. That is the commonly accepted figure for a nuclear enrichment program that is past the experimental stage and can be used as a platform for a full industrial-scale program that could churn out enough enriched material for dozens of nuclear weapons over time.
Iran has said it plans to move toward large-scale uranium enrichment that ultimately will involve 54,000 centrifuges.
Iran says a report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency in February vindicated Iran's nuclear program and left no justification for any Security Council sanctions.