Iran has agreed to discuss a proposal from six world powers to curb its production of high-grade uranium at next week’s nuclear talks in Moscow, European Union officials said on Monday.
According to the officials, during a one-hour phone conversation with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, agreed to focus on the six powers' demands.
Ashton heads the talks with Iran on behalf of the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain, which are known as the P5+1.
The P5+1 called on Iran to halt enrichment past 3.5%, ship its stores of 20% enriched uranium out of the country, and shut down its heavily fortified Fordow enrichment facility.
In exchange, the group offered benefits including medical isotopes, some nuclear safety cooperation, and spare parts for civilian airliners – much needed by Iran.
Iran rejected the proposal during talks in Baghdad last month, saying it makes too many demands of Iran while offering too little in return. However, the Islamic Republic recently said it may agree to negotiate its ongoing enrichment of uranium to higher levels, if the West recognizes it has the "right" to do so for peaceful purposes.
Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused major world powers of looking for ways to “find excuses and to waste time” in talks over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.
“Iran is ready to pursue negotiations in Moscow, and even in Beijing, and has made good proposals,” Ahmadinejad said in the Chinese capital.
“But taking into account that, after a meeting in Baghdad and, in conformity with what was agreed, our efforts to arrange a meeting between the deputies of Ashton and the deputy of (Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili) have not been successful, we consider that the West is looking for excuses to waste time,” he added.
Iranian negotiator Ali Bagheri warned on Sunday that the talks in Moscow could stall because of faulty preparation. He made the complaint in a letter to senior EU official Helga Schmid on Sunday.
“The next round of talks in Moscow will be successful provided that deputies and experts are able to prepare a specific agenda on the basis of Iran's proposals and those of 5+1,” he wrote in his letter.
“If agreements at each round of talks are not pursued by deputies and experts in an appropriate manner, what will be the guarantee for success of the upcoming talks,” he added.