Iranian and European negotiators on Wednesday focused on ways to revive dialogue on Tehran's nuclear program, but European diplomats said the meeting was unlikely to deter Tehran from plans to enrich uranium. Wednesday's talks are high level. Britain, France and Germany were represented by officials who report directly to their foreign ministers, and Iran sent Javad Vaidi, who handles international affairs for the Supreme National Security Council. The two sides have not sat down formally at the same table since August, when Iran's decision to resume uranium conversion, a precursor of enrichment, torpedoed further meetings.
But European diplomats accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency monitoring Iran's nuclear activities were pessimistic that the meeting would persuade the Iranians to act, even at the risk of accelerating efforts to have the country referred to the U.N. Security Council. On Tuesday, some of them described the upcoming session as "non-talks" about a "non-offer."
The choice of words not only reflected low expectations about the outcome of the meeting, but indicated that its status and focus were unclear.
The diplomats, who insisted on anonymity in exchange for discussing details of the closed-door session, said the meeting was meant to do no more than establish whether there was a point to trying to meet again with the Iranians on enrichment, a process that can create either nuclear energy or the fissile core of warheads. European negotiators were seeking a positive Iranian reaction to a proposal that would move Tehran's planned enrichment program to Russia, a plan meant to eliminate the threat that the enriched uranium would be used to make nuclear arms.
But Iranian officials have already rejected the plan, even though it has yet to be formally put on the table. Since the proposal was leaked more than a month ago, the Iranians have repeatedly insisted that they will not allow enrichment to be moved abroad, reports the AP. I.L.