Russian proposal on Iran still open

Nuclear energy chief: No breakthrough, but talks on compromise continue.

Iran Nuclear 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Iran Nuclear 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Russia's nuclear energy chief said after talks with his Iranian counterpart in Tehran on Saturday that Moscow's proposal to ease the standoff with Tehran over its nuclear program "remains on the negotiations table," Russian news agencies reported. The comment from Sergei Kiriyenko, which came after talks with Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, suggested there was no breakthrough on the proposal to move Iran's uranium enrichment activity to Russia - but he also said talks were continuing. The Interfax news agency, meanwhile, cited an unidentified official in the Russian delegation as saying that Kiriyenko's talks with Aghazadeh did not even touch on the enrichment proposal. Officials in the delegation could not immediately be reached for comment. "The negotiations have only begun, but I am satisfied with the way they are going," the ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Kiriyenko as saying. He said he and Aghazadeh agreed that discussions would continue on the expert level all day and would touch on "all aspects of cooperation." According to the RIA-Novosti news agency, Kiriyenko said the experts' talks would include the enrichment proposal, which is backed by the United States and European Union and is aimed at easing concerns that Iran could use its atomic energy program to develop nuclear weapons. Talks in Moscow earlier in the week brought no Iranian agreement to the proposal. The Russian offer could be the last chance for Tehran to avoid punishment by the international community over its nuclear program. A March 6 meeting of the UN nuclear agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, could set in motion a process leading to further pressure on Iran, possibly including sanctions.