News / Middle East

Iran: Ready for Nuclear Talks With Vienna Group

Iran's nuclear chief says his country is ready to enter negotiations with the United States, Russia and France on a possible nuclear fuel agreement.

Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted Friday by Iran's Mehr news agency as saying Iran would be ready to enter talks with the countries that make up the Vienna Group within the next few days.

A spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry on Friday supported Iran's efforts to renew talks, saying negotiations are the best method to resolve disputes over Iran's nuclear program.  She says China opposes unilateral sanctions imposed Monday against Iran by the European Union.

Earlier this week, a U.S. State Department spokesman said Washington is ready to resume talks with Iran on a possible fuel agreement and broader issues related to its nuclear program.  It was not clear whether Iran was offering to go beyond fuel talks.

U.S. officials are traveling to China as part of a tour of Asia and the Middle East next week aimed at getting regional governments to enforce United Nations sanctions against Iran.

Iran rejected a U.N.-backed deal to provide fuel for the Tehran reactor.  It then began enriching uranium on its own, raising international concerns that Iran could eventually use the process to produce nuclear weapons.

Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.

Iran's nuclear chief Salehi said Iran has not been stockpiling enriched uranium and has only been producing what it needs for the Tehran reactor.

In May, Iran made a deal with Turkey and Brazil to ship out some of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for higher-grade nuclear fuel.

The deal did not require that Iran stop its own uranium enrichment activities and was sidelined after the U.N. imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program.

The U.S., EU, Canada and Australia all have imposed separate sanctions against Iran.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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