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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iranian nuclear talks begin in Geneva

RIA Novosti

16:43 01/10/2009 MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - Talks between six world powers and Iran on the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program kicked off in Geneva on Thursday.

The Iran Six negotiating group of Russia, Britain, China, France, Germany and the U.S. is meeting with Iranian officials just days after news of a second Iranian uranium enrichment site led to calls for harsher sanctions against Tehran. The U.S. and Britain have also refused to rule out military action.

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 has said it will allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials to inspect the second site. In an interview with The New York Times, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also said Iran had first sent the IAEA an official report on the plant 18 months ago.

Earlier on Thursday, in an interview with Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said new sanctions would not be discussed during the talks.

The delegations of the six powers 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.

Iran has said it will not discuss its "inalienable" right to the civilian use of nuclear power at the Geneva meeting.

Talks are due to continue through Friday.

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