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publish date : 28 Wednesday March 2012      0:56

Iran, 5+1 agree to meet on April 13: AP

TEHRAN, March 26 (MNA) – Iran and the 5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) have agreed to meet on April 13 for new talks, but the failure of previous meetings and disputes over what should be discussed are keeping them from choosing a venue, diplomats told the Associated Press on Monday.

Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, insisted in Brussels that even the date is not yet fixed.

But three diplomats from Western nations accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency said the starting date is set and they expect the dispute over the venue to be resolved in time.

The main bone of contention is Iran’s nuclear enrichment. As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is legally entitled to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

Russia and China, as two veto-wielding powers sitting on the 5+1 group, are not opposed to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.

Disagreement over venue of talks

Regarding the location of the April 13 talks, Iran favors Istanbul, but since the last talks there failed the 5+1 group opposes that venue, the three diplomats said on condition of anonymity in exchange for discussing the confidential discussions about the meeting.

Iran and the major powers met in Istanbul 14 months ago and left the negotiating table two days later.

Another possible venue, Vienna, is opposed by Iran.

The diplomats said both sides were not keen about Geneva, the site of a failed 2010 meeting. One said Belgium was being discussed. Another suggested that outside of Vienna and Geneva, other Austrian and Swiss venues were still open.


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