Iran Nuclear NewsIran: talks, uranium moratorium not linked

Iran: talks, uranium moratorium not linked

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AP: The head of an Iranian delegation in Moscow for talks on Tehran’s nuclear program said Monday that a proposal to move Iran’s uranium enrichment to Russia had no ties to demands for Iran to restore a moratorium on enrichment activities, a Russian news agency reported. Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) – The head of an Iranian delegation in Moscow for talks on Tehran’s nuclear program said Monday that a proposal to move Iran’s uranium enrichment to Russia had no ties to demands for Iran to restore a moratorium on enrichment activities, a Russian news agency reported.

“The negotiations with Russia do not foresee any preconditions,” said Ali Hosseinitash, deputy secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. There is no link “between the moratorium on uranium enrichment and talks on the Russian plan.”

The Moscow talks, set to begin Monday, are seen as a final opportunity for Iran to avoid punishment over Western concerns it is developing nuclear weapons. The U.N nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, is to hold a March 6 meeting, which could start a process leading to U.N. Security Council sanctions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week the Russian proposal is conditional on Iran giving up all enrichment activity, including small-scale efforts it started last week. The European Union and the United States also insist that Tehran re-impose a freeze on all enrichment.

But IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei has recently suggested that the international community might have no choice but to accept small-scale enrichment on Iranian soil as a condition for Tehran to agree to move its full program abroad, a diplomat familiar with ElBaradei’s position said Sunday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Under the proposal – which has U.S. and European backing – Iran’s enrichment activities would take place on Russian soil to ensure no uranium is diverted for nuclear weapons. Enrichment is a key process that can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or material for a warhead.

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