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Iran Nuclear Talks May Resume in October

Swiss foreign minister says talks between Iran and five world powers may resume in Geneva in October.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/25/2013, 6:14 AM

Bushehr nuclear power plant
Bushehr nuclear power plant
AFP photo

Iran nuclear talks may resume in Geneva in October, the Swiss foreign minister said on Tuesday in an interview with Swiss public radio, as reported by the AFP news agency.

"It is possible that the dialogue will continue in Geneva from October," said Didier Burkhalter, whose country represents the United States' interests in Iran.

The meeting would be between "chief negotiators" on Iran's nuclear program and all the parties involved would be present, said Burkhalter, speaking from New York during the annual summit of the UN General Assembly.

The negotiations are between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group, which is made up of the five permanent UN Security Council members, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany.

Burkhalter said he had met the new Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in New York.

He said Switzerland provided a "communications channel" between Washington and Tehran.

Ashton, who leads the talks between the P5+1 and Iran, said Monday she would meet Zarif in Geneva in October for the first round of talks since Iran's new President Hassan Rouhani took office.

The last round of talks was held at the start of April in Almaty but failed as did previous rounds.

A report released at the end of August by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found that Iran has further boosted its capacity for uranium enrichment.

The report said that Tehran has now installed more than 1,000 advanced centrifuges at its Natanz enrichment plant.

Iran's envoy to the IAEA recently said that Tehran had a "strong political will" to engage with the international community over its nuclear program, but warned that diplomacy was a two-way street and that Iran would never give up its nuclear "rights".

Rouhani’s election in June as Iranian president has raised hopes that the nuclear talks will make progress after a decade of no success and rising tensions.

The new president has said that Tehran would not give up "one iota" of its nuclear rights, but has also urged the world to seize the opportunity of his election to resolve the nuclear dispute.

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Rouhani asserted that his country posed a threat to no one and, while calling for an “end to violence and extremism”, said his country is willing to hold time-bound talks on its nuclear program.