Iran meets Europe half-way

Iran seems to go on compromise with European negotiators over Tehran's nuclear program, a US State Department official said.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the Iranians had held off on their threat to resume nuclear fuel cycle activities which the United States and its allies fear could be a prelude to efforts to develop a bomb.

Britain, France and Germany, which are trying to lure Iran off its suspected nuclear weapons ambitions with economic and security incentives, have said any resumption of fuel work would scuttle an agreement struck last year in Paris.

But the US official said, "I think there is a general sense that, at least for now, the Iranians have moved away from any immediate action that would break the Paris accord."

"We fully support the E.U.'s negotiating process, and we believe it's important for Iran to choose a non-nuclear future," R. Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, was quoted as saying by Washington Post. "We do not wish Iran to become a nuclear weapons state."

Iran announced Monday it was ready to resume the sensitive process of uranium ore conversion that had been suspended for nine months, and was gearing to remove the seals from a plant in the central city of Isfahan.

The spokesman for Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Aghamohammadi said IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors and Iranian experts were at work at the plant near the central city of Isfahan, according to Reuters.

"They are doing the executive work and we hope that today we will be able to restart the activities," he told reporters.

"One week is not acceptable for Iran for the installation of equipment," he said. So far, neither the Europeans nor the Iranians have taken irreversible steps that could terminate their negotiations to resolve a crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions. The maneuvering, which officials said they considered to be serious, was reminiscent of a week-long crisis in May. That standoff was eventually resolved when the Europeans agreed to speed up the pace of negotiations and Iran backed down from threats to restart the uranium conversion facility in the town of Isfahan.

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