Iranian and European diplomats have agreed to resume negotiations on Tehran's controversial nuclear program in January. The decision came after a full day of high level talks in Vienna, the first since August . The dialogue collapsed after Iran restarted parts of its nuclear program which could be used to make atomic weapons. But the United States says time is running out for Iran.
France, Germany and Britain, EU's three leading economies, will start a new round of talks with Iran next month to try to break the deadlock surrounding Tehran's controversial nuclear program.
Iran insists on its right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, but the Europeans and the United States want Iran to abandon uranium enrichment activities, which can be used to make material for nuclear bombs.
The International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors held back from sending Iran to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions at a meeting in September to allow more time for such talks.
But Matthew Boland, spokesman to the U.S. mission of the IAEA, says Iran is playing cat and mouse with the international community and should come clean on the true nature of the nuclear activities it has kept secret from the world for almost two decades.
"The U.S. and the EU and many other countries have clearly stated the international community's patience is not unlimited and we need to see clear progress from Iran on these issues very soon or Iran will find itself facing increasing international pressure and diplomatic isolation including a decision by the IAEA board of governors to report Iran to the United Nations Security Council," he said.
Iran rejected a co-operation package from the EU three (Britain, France and Germany) which would allow Tehran to enrich uranium but on Russian soil to avoid any possible diversion to a weapons' program.
Iran wants control of the full nuclear fuel cycle on its own soil, a demand that has raised concerns about the country's true intentions.
The January talks are expected to focus on a compromise that would allow Iran to enrich uranium in the country but under some kind of international supervision.
The debate over Iran's nuclear program has taken on increased urgency in the wake of controversial comments by the country's new hard-line president, who recently caused international outrage by calling the killing of six million jews in the holocaust a myth and by saying Israel should be wiped off the map.