BRUSSELS - World powers and Iran will very
likely resume negotiations on the Islamic Republic's nuclear
ambitions in February, shortly after an interim, six-month deal
restricting its atomic work goes into effect, a diplomatic
source told Reuters on Monday.
The goal of the new round of talks is to find a broad
settlement in the decade-old dispute over Iran's nuclear
program and ease the risk of mistrust leading to deeper
tensions or even conflict in the Middle East.
The diplomatic source said the first meeting between Iran
and six powers - the United States, Russia, China, France,
Britain and Germany - would include Iranian Foreign Minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine
"It won't happen in January, because of the Chinese New
Year, but it is very, very, very likely in February," the source
said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Senior diplomats from the seven countries, led by the EU,
will hold talks ahead of the meeting to prepare an agenda.
Iran says its atomic energy program is aimed purely at
electricity generation and other civilian purposes, although
past Iranian attempts to hide sensitive nuclear activity from
UN non-proliferation inspectors raised concerns.