AFP
Last updated: 18 October, 2012

Russia says November Iran nuclear talks “realistic”

Russia said Thursday it was “realistic” to hold direct talks next month between Iran’s chief negotiator and six-nation representative Catherine Ashton over the Islamic republic’s nuclear drive.

“It would be realistic to talk about organising one in November,” Interfax quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying.

He refused to speculate where the meeting might be organised, but ruled out the Russian capital.

“In either case, it will not be Moscow,” he was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Three rounds of direct negotiations and a lower-level meeting of experts have failed to produce much progress over transparency in an Iranian nuclear programme that the West suspects is a front for developing nuclear weapons.

Tehran denies the charge and insists on world recognition of its right to enrich uranium — something that is excluded by four rounds of UN sanction over its refusal to cooperate with nuclear agency inspectors.

The last round of direct talks in Moscow in June included mentions of a new meeting possibly being held in a neutral venue such as the Kazakh capital Astana or Beijing.