Iran begins nuclear talks with world powers

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The Independent Online

Iran began talks about its nuclear programme with six world powers today.

The Geneva meeting - the first in over a year - is meant to ease concerns over Iran's nuclear agenda.

Tehran says it does not want atomic arms, but as it builds on its capacity to make such weapons, neither Israel nor the US have ruled out military action if it fails to heed UN Security Council demands to freeze key nuclear programmes.

The meeting formally began shortly after 0900 GMT after limousines brought delegates to a conference centre near the Swiss mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

The delegations of Iran, the European Union, the United States, Russia, Britain, France and Germany hurried inside and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met Saeed Jalili, Iran's chief negotiator, in the foyer of the conference room.

Despite the friendly atmosphere, expectations were low.

"Don't expect much of anything," a chief negotiator from one of the six powers inside the meeting said shortly before the talks convened.

The long-term aim for the six is nudging Iran toward agreeing to stop uranium enrichment, which can make both fuel for reactors and the fissile core of nuclear arms.

But Iran's defiance was highlighted yesterday when it announced it had delivered its first domestically mined raw uranium to a processing facility, claiming it is now self-sufficient over the whole enrichment process.