Sat, Nov 03, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Iran, UN nuclear group finish latest talks

DEFUSING THE CRISIS A Saudi Arabian official has suggested that Arab states in the Persian Gulf could set up a consortium to supply Iran with enriched uranium

AP , TEHRAN

Iranian officials and the UN's nuclear watchdog ended four days of talks here aimed at resolving questions related to the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, state media reported.

The conclusion of the talks comes as the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany were to meet in London yesterday to try to coordinate strategy toward Iran's disputed nuclear activities.

A Saudi Arabian official, meanwhile, said Arab states in the Persian Gulf had proposed to Tehran that they set up a consortium to provide Iran with enriched uranium as a way to defuse the nuclear fight.

SATISFACTION

The Iranian side expressed satisfaction with the UN discussions, which focused on P-1 and P-2 centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium, said a report on the Web site of Iran's state broadcasting company.

The talks, which began Monday and ended Thursday, were the third round between the two sides to discuss the machines.

``In the talks, the agency's negotiators raised their questions and ambiguities over the machines, and the Iranian side provided necessary answers and information,'' the Web site quoted Javad Vaeedi, head of the Iranian negotiating team, as saying.

The report did not provide further details.

The discussions were the latest attempt by the Vienna, Austria-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to address outstanding questions about the Iranian program, which some Western countries believe is cover for weapons development -- an allegation Tehran denies. IAEA deputy chief Olli Heinonen headed the UN delegation.

PROGRESS REPORT

The talks in Tehran were seen as critical because they will form the basis for a progress report on Iran's nuclear activities expected to be released this month by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN-affiliated IAEA.

In September, ElBaradei praised Iran's cooperation with the nuclear agency so far, but urged Tehran to answer all questions -- including those on reported experiments that link enrichment and missile technology -- before the end of the year.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly on Monday, ElBaradei said that ``Iran's cooperation and transparency, were keys'' to his report on Iran's nuclear program.

Centrifuges are used in enriching uranium, a process that can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or the material for a nuclear warhead.

P-2 centrifuges are more sophisticated, consume less electricity and produce more enriched uranium than their predecessors, the P-1 centrifuges.

FURTHER SANCTIONS

The US, Britain and France are preparing to debate a third set of sanctions against the Islamic republic in response to Tehran's continued refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

Iran has rejected two UN Security Council resolutions requiring it to halt its enrichment program.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, suggested the Arab nations around the Persian Gulf form a consortium that would build a uranium enrichment plant to supply the region's states, including Iran, with reactor fuel.

Speaking with the Middle East Economic Digest in London, he said the plant should be sited in a neutral country outside the region.

``The US is not involved, but I don't think it [would be] hostile to this, and it would resolve a main area of tension between the West and Iran,'' the magazine quoted Saud as saying.

He said the idea had been proposed to Iran's government, which said it would consider the plan.

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