Iran, Russia to continue talks on uranium enrichment proposal

Russian and Iranian officials agreed to continue negotiations on Moscow's uranium enrichment proposal on Monday, bringing new hope for progress on the Iranian nuclear issue.

"The talks with the Iranian delegation in the Kremlin has concluded ... An agreement was reached to continue the talks," the press service of the Russian Security Council was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Monday's talks were held behind closed doors and led by the deputy secretary of Russia's Security Council, Valentin Sobolev, and the deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Hosseinitash. After the talks, Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanovmet the Iranian officials.

The Russian Security Council gave no indication of when or where the talks would resume. But the Foreign Ministry said talks may be continued on Tuesday in Moscow. The Iranian delegation is reportedly to head home on Tuesday.

The talks focused on the Russian proposal to shift Iran's uranium enrichment activities to Russian territory. Western countries have backed Moscow's compromise plan, saying it could help allay concerns over Iran potentially producing weapons-grade nuclear material.

Uranium enriched at low levels can fuel nuclear reactors, but if highly enriched it can be used for nuclear bombs.

The Russian plan is seen as a crucial attempt to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program before a March 6 meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the talks that the discussion with Iran could allow the nuclear issue to stay within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In Brussels, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said his country would consider Russia's proposal, bringing new hope for progress in the Iranian nuclear issue, reports Xinhua.


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