Iran, E3+3 Led by Ashton Complete Day 1 of Nuclear Talks

World | December 6, 2010, Monday // 21:45
Bulgaria: Iran, E3+3 Led by Ashton Complete Day 1 of Nuclear Talks EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L), greets Saeed Jalili (R), Iran's chief negotiator in Geneva. Photo by EPA/BGNES

EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Catherine Ashton, has started talks with Iran over its nuclear program on behalf of the E3+3 nations (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany).

Ashton, who is a mediator in the talks, together with representatives of the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany, met Monday with the Iranian delegation led by chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

The talks in Geneva, Switzerland, on Iran's nuclear program are the first since October 2009.

There are low expectations on part of the international community on whether Iran will be willing to negotiate especially after on 5 December, Tehran announced that it had produced its first raw uranium domestically and delivered it to a plant capable of enriching it.

"The West had counted on the possibility of us being in trouble over raw material but today we had the first batch of yellowcake [raw uranium] from the Gachin mine sent to the Isfahan [conversion] facility," said on state TV on Sunday the head of the Iranian nuclear programme, Ali Akbar Salehi.

This indicates that Tehran has found a way to get around the low stocks of yellowcake, or enriched uranium, they were understood to have.

The international community, including notably the EU and the US, have criticised Iran's nuclear program saying it is meant to make nuclear weapons. Tehran, on the other hand, has consistently stated that its nuclear program is solely intended for the production of nuclear fuel for civilian uses.

The talks in Geneva are scheduled to continue into a second day, on 7 December.

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Tags: Iran, E3+3, Iranian nuclear program, Catherine Ashton, nuclear talks, Saeed Jalili, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs

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