Iran Nuclear NewsIran nuclear talks set for Jan 21-22: Turkey

Iran nuclear talks set for Jan 21-22: Turkey

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AFP: Talks between world powers and Iran on its disputed nuclear programme will take place in Istanbul on January 21 and 22, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday, local media reported.

ISTANBUL (AFP) — Talks between world powers and Iran on its disputed nuclear programme will take place in Istanbul on January 21 and 22, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday, local media reported.

The dates corresponded to those given by Iran’s Fars news agency in a report on Friday, after European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s spokeswoman said she was looking at resuming the talks on January 20.

Turkey’s Anatolia news agency quoted Davutoglu as saying Ashton would be in Istanbul next week to start preparing for the meeting.

A previous round of talks between Iran and six world powers — Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany — spearheaded by Ashton, took place in Geneva on December 6-7.

That round followed a 14-month hiatus in the talks on Iran’s uranium enrichment programme, which Tehran insists is peaceful but the US and its allies believe is aimed at developing an atom bomb.

The US State Department said it looked forward to the next round of talks and “would like to see a meaningful negotiations process emerge,” without specifying dates.

Tehran sprang a new surprise Saturday ahead of the discussions, saying it could now make its own nuclear fuel plates and rods, technology the West claims the Islamic republic does not possess.

“We have built an advanced manufacturing unit in the Isfahan site for the fuel plates,” atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also acting foreign minister, told Fars.

“A grand transformation has taken place in the production of (nuclear) plates and rods. With the completion of the unit in Isfahan, we are one of the few countries which can produce fuel rods and fuel plates.”

Salehi said that Western policies had spurred the Islamic republic to reach its current level of atomic technology, including the production of nuclear plates and rods.

Salehi also said Iran has now produced nearly 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of uranium enriched to the 20-percent level, despite Western calls for Tehran to suspend the work.

The Islamic republic is under four sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, but Salehi said work on a second enrichment plant was progressing.

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