World powers prepare to meet with Iran on nuclear dispute
A meeting of world powers in New York on Wednesday focused on preparing for a possible meeting with Iran to discuss the Islamic state's nuclear activities, a senior US official said.
The foreign ministers from the five permanent members of the Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany held the meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, which opens Thursday, DPA reported.
"With some signs that Iran may be willing to meet this autumn, the ministers focused heavily on preparations for such talks," the official told reporters on a conference call.
Iranian officials have signalled their intention to resume the meetings, led by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. It would be the first since October 2009, as well the first as since an initial deal to curtail Iran's nuclear work fell through, prompting another round UN Security Council sanctions in June.
The US official said that even though Iran has publicly signalled an interest in rejoining talks, it has not responded to Ashton's requests to arrange a date.
"There's been a resounding silence in response to those efforts," the official said.
The West suspects Iran's nuclear programme is for developing weapons - charges Tehran rejects, saying the work is purely for generating energy. Iran has refused to comply with Security Council resolutions it suspend uranium enrichment.
Last year, there appeared to be a deal between the world powers and Iran, wherein Iran would agree to ship enriched uranium to a third country in exchange for fuel to run a nuclear research reactor in Tehran. But that deal fell through, with the United States accusing Iran of stalling on implementation with unacceptable counter proposals.