Iran Nuclear Talks Resume on April 14
Nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – will resume in Turkey on April 14.
"We have agreed with Iran to launch a new round of talks in Istanbul on 14 April," International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Michael Mann said on Monday.
Mann added, "We are very pleased that these talks, which will address the international community´s concerns on the Iranian nuclear program, are going ahead after more than one year since we last met."
The announcement comes after weeks of diplomatic wrangling between Tehran and the P5+1.
Iran has found itself under a mounting array of crippling sanctions from the West and the growing specter of an Israeli military strike on its nuclear facilities.
Iran said last month that it was ready to re-engage with the IAEA.
As a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Iran is obligated to allow IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear facilities, which it has systemically refused to do.
Iran insists its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes. However, in early March, the head of the IAEA said there were indications that Iran was engaged in the development of nuclear weapons.
"Iran is not telling us everything. That is my impression. We are asking Iran to engage with us proactively, and Iran has a case to answer," said IAEA director Yukiya Amano.
His remarks followed two recent IAEA reports that indicated Iran had sought - and likely continues to seek - nuclear technologies of a military nature.
Over the weakened, Iran indicated it may be willing to reduce the amount of uranium it is enriching to 20%.
"Based on our needs and once the required fuel is obtained, we will decrease the production and we may even totally shift it to the 3.5%," state-run Press TV quoted Iranian nuclear chief Fereydoun Abbasi as saying in a televised interview.
Abbasi told Press TV that Iran does not plan to produce 20% enriched uranium for long.
Uranium enriched at 20% is typically used for hospital isotopes and research reactors, but is also a short-cut toward the 90% enrichment required to build nuclear weapons.
IAEA experts previously reported Iran's production of 20% enriched uranium is far greater than needed for peaceful purposes. They also note Iran's medical research sector is not sufficiently advanced to justify such production.
Analysts say Abbasi's comments may only be a starting point for negotiations as it is less accommodating than statements previously made by a key advisor to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Mohammad Javad Larijani said last month that the West should accept Iran's "peaceful nuclear program," sell Iran 20 percent enriched uranium, and provide the customary assistance nuclear nations provide to those building nuclear power plants.
In return for cooperation from the West Iran would offer "full transparency," Larijani said.
He did not say Iran would halt uranium enrichment – a key demand by Jerusalem and Washington to avoid military strikes – but observers say the stipulation that the West provide 20% enriched uranium indicates Iran is open to doing so.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has dismissed the upcoming talks saying Iran is only using them to buy more time in its bid for nuclear weapons.