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Iran Nuclear Talks with Europe to Continue

By Marlene Smith, VOA, Vienna

Talks between key European countries and Iran on Tehran's nuclear program broke up after five hours of negotiations with no definite conclusions. Marlene Smith reports from Vienna, where the talks were held, diplomats agreed to meet again soon for further discussions.

Britain, France, and Germany have promised Iran valuable nuclear technology and trade if Tehran abandons parts of its nuclear program that could be used to build a bomb.

The Iranians have not agreed to fully suspend uranium enrichment, but have left the door open for more talks.

The International Atomic Energy Agency was not involved directly in the talks, but is watching developments closely. The IAEA board of governors meets at the end of November to decide if Iran's nuclear file should go before the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

IAEA spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming, says a board meeting last month called for Iran to stop all its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.

"It is a voluntary commitment but it is one that board members that represent the international community feel is warranted given the suspicions fueled by the past concealment of their nuclear program," Ms. Fleming says.

The IAEA says there are still doubts concerning Iran's nuclear ambitions including the nature of work on advanced centrifuges and plutonium separation experiments that were kept secret from the agency.

Iran says it has a right to the peaceful use of atomic energy and denies that it is building nuclear weapons, as alleged by Washington.

Russia and countries from the Non-Aligned Movement on the IAEA board say there is no evidence of this and doubt whether Security Council involvement will solve the problem.

Russia is also engaged in negotiations with Iran on providing nuclear fuel for a light-water reactor in the southern part of the country.

About 1,000 Russian experts are working at the plant, but Iran is haggling over the question of returning spent fuel to Russia. Iran says the IAEA is fully involved in supervising work at the reactor.

Diplomats say talks between Iran and the Europeans will resume shortly, but no major breakthrough is expected before the U.S. election.

... Payvand News - 10/28/04 ... --

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