AFP: The European Union and Iran are planning to go ahead with nuclear talks on December 21 despite very low expectations for guarantees that Tehran will abandon sensitive nuclear activities, Western diplomats told AFP Saturday. VIENNA, Dec 10 (AFP) – The European Union and Iran are planning to go ahead with nuclear talks on December 21 despite very low expectations for guarantees that Tehran will abandon sensitive nuclear activities, Western diplomats told AFP Saturday.
Diplomats said the two sides would be meeting alone, and not with Russian experts as originally planned. The meeting will probably be held in Vienna, although this could change.
“December 21 is confirmed. It will probably be in Vienna but the venue is not totally locked up,” said a Western diplomat, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.
This information was confirmed by a second diplomat, who asked only to be identified as a European envoy.
The Western diplomat said: “Expectations are very low. The EU-3 (EU negotiators Britain, France and Germany) expects Iran to press for agreement on a pilot centrifuge plant. The EU-3 will make clear that that is unacceptable and that time is about to run out on the Iranians.”
Centrifuges are used to enrich uranium into what can be fuel for nuclear power reactors or the raw material for nuclear devices.
The meeting is “to talk about talks,” the European diplomat said, to see at a senior level if formal, possibly ministerial-level talks on winning guarantees that Iran will not make nuclear weapons can resume.
EU-Iran talks collapsed in August when Tehran ended its suspension of uranium conversion, the first step towards making enriched uranium.
The climate for talks is now particularly bad since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad set off an international furor with remarks this week questioning the Holocaust and suggesting that the “tumour” of the state of Israel be relocated to Europe.
The UN Security Council on Friday condemned “the remarks about Israel and the denial of the Holocaust attributed to Dr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” in a statement from the British presidency of the council.