| GEO World|
Major powers, Iran resume nuclear talks
| Updated at: 1459 PST, Monday, December 06, 2010|
GENEVA: Six world powers began their first talks with Iran in more than a year on Monday, hoping the meeting will lead to new negotiations over a nuclear program the West believes is aimed at making atomic bombs.
On the eve of the meeting in Geneva, Iran announced what it called a major step forward in its nuclear work, signaling it is not about to back down in a long-running battle over what it insists are peaceful plans for energy production.
The six powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- played down expectations of a major breakthrough during the Dec 6-7 discussions. Diplomats said an agreement to meet again for more substantial talks, perhaps early next year, would be a sign of progress.
"The talks just began," said a Western official, shortly after Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is leading the talks on behalf of the six powers, arrived at a Geneva conference center.
Western powers want Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activity, which can produce fuel for nuclear power reactors or provide material for bombs if refined to a higher degree.
A European official said the six powers expected Iran to shed light on questions about its nuclear program that had so far gone unanswered.
"The choices are clear for Iran: it can face growing isolation or cooperate," the official, who asked not to be named, told.
But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said this key issue will not be discussed in Geneva.
"Any issue related to Iran's nuclear activities should be resolved in the framework of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)," Ali Baqeri, deputy head of Iran's delegation, told.