MOSCOW (AP) – The top Iranian negotiator at talks on a Russian offer to enrich uranium for Iran described the outcome of the two-day meeting as “positive” on Tuesday as he left for Tehran, the Interfax news agency reported.
“I assess our negotiations as positive. There are elements in these negotiations which give us grounds for hope that we will reach an agreement,” Interfax quoted Ali Hosseinitash as saying.
Hosseinitash, the deputy secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, did not elaborate. He said that the talks had covered a wider range of issues than the Russian proposal, focusing in particular on the March 6 meeting of the U.N nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Russian offer is widely seen as a final opportunity for Iran to address the West’s concerns about the suspected Iranian nuclear weapons program before the IAEA session, that could start a process leading to punishment by the U.N. Security Council.
Under Moscow’s plan, Iran’s enrichment activities would take place on Russian soil to ensure no uranium is diverted for nuclear weapons. Enrichment is a process that can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or material for a warhead.
However, Hosseinitash and other Iranian officials have rejected Russia’s demands that Iran restore a freeze on uranium enrichment it broke last month and made clear that Tehran did not intend to renounce its right to produce nuclear fuel domestically.