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US, Allies Define Demands Ahead of Iran Talks: Report

Source: VOA

A major U.S. newspaper says Washington and its European allies plan to demand that Iran immediately close and ultimately dismantle a recently completed nuclear facility deep under a mountain as part of new talks with Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.

In a report published Sunday, The New York Times said Western nations will also call for a halt in the production of highly enriched uranium fuel and the shipment of existing stockpiles of that fuel out of Iran.

The Times cited U.S. and European diplomats as saying they have “no idea how the Iranians will react” to such demands and likely will not know until after the first meeting.

Talks between world powers and Iran are tentatively set to begin Friday.

The U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany are the six nations involved in diplomacy aimed at resolving the long-running dispute over Iran's nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at producing atomic weapons. Iran says the work is solely for peaceful purposes.

Most of Iran's expansion of higher-grade enrichment - which can be converted to weapons grade within months - is now taking place inside the Fordo facility, deep inside a mountain near the holy city of Qom.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that a CIA stealth surveillance drone flew deep over Iranian territory more than three years ago, capturing images of the secret Qom facility before returning home.

The newspaper, quoting former senior U.S. intelligence officials, said there was no sign the aircraft was ever detected. It said such CIA stealth drones scoured dozens of suspicious sites throughout Iran before a version of the RQ-170 aircraft crashed inside Iran's borders in December.

The Post said the expanded intelligence collection has reinforced the White House view that it will have early warning of any move by Iran to assemble a nuclear bomb.

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