Six powers, Tehran to discuss Iran's nuclear program in Geneva
04:40 01/10/2009 MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - The Iran Six negotiating group of Russia, Britain, China, France, Germany and the U.S. is set to meet in Geneva on Thursday for talks with Tehran on Iran's nuclear program and a second uranium enrichment facility.
The delegations of the six nations will be headed by deputy foreign ministers, including Russia's Sergei Ryabkov. Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will also take part in the meeting.
Western powers suspect Iran of attempting to build nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is aimed at generating nuclear energy for civilian purposes.
Iran ruled out the possibility of discussing at the meeting its right for the civilian use of nuclear power, including the construction of a second uranium enrichment site.
Last week, Iran notified the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of a second Iranian enrichment site some 100 km to the south of the capital. The news was met by indignation from the West which suspects Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The U.S., the U.K. and France have demanded harsher sanctions against the Islamic republic.
The IAEA requested specific information and an immediate inspection of the facility to make sure it was for civilian needs. Iran's envoy to the UN told Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday it was ready to admit UN nuclear watchdog inspectors to the plant.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency to reach a settlement on the country's nuclear program prior to the meeting.
Mikhail Margelov, the head of the international affairs committee of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, said that the international community was likely to impose harsher sanctions against Iran, and reiterated Russia's position that in some cases sanctions are inevitable.
Sergei Oznobishchev, director at the Institute of Strategic Assessments, also said more sanctions against Tehran were likely to follow.
"Iran should understand that certain actions entail negative consequences," he told RIA Novosti.
The U.S. and Britain have refused to rule out military action against Iran.
As tensions grow, Iran's national media said on Monday the country had test launched the longest-range missile in its arsenal, a Sajjil surface-to-surface missile with a range of up to 2,000-2,500 kilometers, capable of striking Israel and parts of Europe.
Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki visited the Iranian interest section at the Pakistan embassy in Washington on Wednesday, but did not meet with any U.S. officials, the State Department said.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said that Mottaki's visit should not be seen as a gesture before the Geneva talks.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|