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  Wednesday, November 13, 2019
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Talks between Russia and Iran on the latter's controversial nuclear programs will continue Tuesday at the level of experts
Talks between Russia and Iran on the latter's controversial nuclear programs will continue Tuesday at the level of experts, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said experts would continue discussing a Russian proposal to establish a joint venture to enrich Iranian uranium on Russian territory, an initiative widely seen as a compromise to end the long stand-off over Tehran's nuclear projects. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the first round of talks in the Kremlin on Monday that he hoped the results of the talks would allow the situation to be kept within the remit of the UN's nuclear watchdog. "It is too early to discuss results," he said, adding that he hoped the negotiations would be able to keep the matter within the remit of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He said Iran should resume its moratorium on uranium enrichment and continue talks with all sides to reach mutually acceptable agreements. Lavrov said the upcoming IAEA session of on March 6 in Vienna would take into account Iran's progress on meeting the organization's requirements and issues related to the country's activities in the nuclear sphere in the past. "Russia believes that the [IAEA] report will reflect Iran's performance in meeting IAEA requirements, and [Iran's] progress on the issues related to its past nuclear activities that have not been cleared up yet," Lavrov said. The head of the Iranian delegation Seyyed Ali Hosseini-Tash, the deputy head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, confirmed that the talks would be resumed Tuesday, but declined to comment on any results of the first round, according to Iranian news agency IRNA. Russia and Iran are discussing the Russian initiative to set up a joint uranium enrichment venture in Russia, with the possible participation of other countries, in particular China. The stand of the Iranian delegation will decide the future of Iran's "nuclear file", which a trio of European nations involved in talks with Tehran - France, the United Kingdom and Germany - the board of governors of the UN's nuclear watchdog, and the U.S. want to refer to the UN Security Council. The body has the power to impose sanctions, if Tehran is found to be in breach of its international commitments. The mooted deal is seen as a potential compromise in the crisis around the nuclear programs of the Islamic Republic, which some countries suspect of pursuing a covert weapons program. Although Tehran has consistently said it only wants nuclear power for peaceful purposes, the United States and other nations have concerns, as enriched uranium is a vital component for an atomic bomb. An emergency session of the IAEA board in early February showed that its approach to Iran's position on uranium enrichment and a full nuclear cycle had become noticeably tougher. The board approved a resolution binding IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei to inform the UN Security Council about Iran's nuclear program and position on cooperation, and about the IAEA's actions on the issue
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