EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will meet top Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani in Ankara on Wednesday to see if Iran can be persuaded to halt uranium enrichment in exchange for negotiations about economic incentives.
“I am going to meet him to see if we can move to a negotiation,” Mr Solana said on arrival at an EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg.
In the bid to push Iran to drop some aspects of its nuclear programme, Mr Solana is negotiating on behalf of permanent UN Security Council members France, Britain, Russia, the United States and China, as well as Germany.
The international community wants Tehran to freeze uranium enrichment work before any talks can be held on a package of economic and other incentives for Iran, including assistance for its nuclear power generation programme.
Iran has started feeding small amounts of uranium gas into centrifuges that can enrich it to weapons-grade level and is already running more than 1,300 of the machines, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency document obtained last week by The Associated Press.
The IAEA has protested about Iran’s decision to prevent agency inspectors from visiting the country’s heavy water reactor, which, when built, will produce plutonium.
Enriched uranium and plutonium can both be used for the fissile core of nuclear warheads.
Iran denies it plans to produce nuclear weapons, saying it only wants to generate energy.
The issue of Iran’s nuclear posture was being debated today at a meeting of EU foreign ministers.