Nuclear experts from Iran and six world powers are due on May 5 to start a week of talks in New York aimed at reaching a permanent agreement that limits Iran's nuclear program and eases Western concerns Tehran is trying to produce nuclear weapons.
The negotiators from Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States still need to resolve the most difficult issues on a permanent agreement before a July 20 deadline that was established under a temporary agreement last November.
But hopes for a deal have been bolstered by Tehran's May 4 announcement that it is allowing a visit by international nuclear inspectors this week.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman on Iran's nuclear program, says International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors will visit a uranium mine and a uranium-processing facility in the towns of Ardakan and Yazd on May 5 and May 6.
He said that Tehran will be able to say after the inspections that it has fulfilled all seven measures agreed in February between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog.
Iran is required to meet those demands by May 15.
Under the initial nuclear deal reached by Iran and world powers in November, Tehran stopped enrichment of uranium to 20 percent -- a possible pathway to developing a nuclear weapons capability -- in exchange for the easing of some Western sanctions.
Tehran also agreed to dilute half of its existing 20 percent enriched uranium stockpile to the 5 percent level and transform the rest into oxide, which is very difficult to use for bomb-making materials.
The talks from May 5 to May 9 in New York are preparing for the next ministerial-level negotiations in Vienna on May 13.
Based on reports by AP, Reuters and IRNA
Copyright (c) 2014 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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