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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US, Iran Hold Rare Bilateral Meeting

By VOA News
01 October 2009

U.S. and Iranian diplomats have held a rare bilateral meeting, on the sidelines of talks in Geneva about Iran's nuclear program.

A U.S. spokesman says Undersecretary of State William Burns met Thursday with top Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

The United States and Iran do not have diplomatic relations, and no details of the meeting were made public. However, the session is believed to be the highest-level meeting between Washington and Tehran in years.

Iranian officials have been holding multilateral talks with diplomats from the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Iranian television says the world powers have agreed to hold more talks before the end of October. State television also says Jalili laid out the framework of Iran's proposals and explained how he believed they should be implemented.

Meanwhile, Iranian news agencies quote Jalili as telling world leaders Iran would not give up certain rights, a possible reference to the country's nuclear program.

Western nations are concerned that Iran is trying to make a nuclear weapon, and hope the talks will lead to a halt in its nuclear activities.

Iran says it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes.

The United Nations has already imposed three rounds of sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment program.

Iran has uranium centrifuges at a facility in Natanz, and last week, it reported a second site near the holy city of Qom.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran broke the law by not disclosing the second facility much earlier.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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