|Iran, West may agree on uranium enrichment to purity of 5%: Russia||
TEHRAN – Iran and the Western powers may strike an accord in which Tehran would continue enriching uranium up to five percent purity, according to Russia’s chief negotiator at the talks.
“In the absence of trust between the two sides, we have to concentrate on what causes the most concern,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday in a phone interview with Bloomberg.
Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) held nuclear talks in Geneva on October 15 and 16. Afterwards, the two sides issued a joint statement describing the talks as “substantive and forward-looking”.
“Among the six powers, enrichment above 5 percent has always been a focus because the Iranian nuclear program is continuing to expand.”
Iran says its right to uranium enrichment must be recognized.
Nuclear power stations generally run on uranium enriched to 5 percent fissile purity, while the medical reactor requires 20 percent enriched fuel.
Iran is seeking an end to European Union and U.S. sanctions, Ryabkov said. “If progress continues at the talks, there’s no reason why we can’t agree on the lifting of all unilateral sanctions. The exact timetable is a matter for discussion,” he said.
The U.S., UK, France, Germany, Russia and China agreed at talks with Iran last week in Geneva to hold a new round of negotiations on November 7 and 8. The discussions were the first since Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new president, took office.
While the so-called 5+1 group and Iran probably won’t be able to reach a final agreement at the next round, the “constructive” attitude of the Iranian negotiators means the talks should yield “some results so that the road toward a compromise becomes irreversible,” Ryabkov said.
The United States, Israel, and a few of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program.
However, the International Atomic Energy Agency has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran’s civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.
Iran says it is enriching uranium only to fuel a planned network of nuclear power stations, and for medical purposes.
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