International talks with Iran over its nuclear
programme are unlikely to resume this month, a European Union
diplomat said Friday, playing down the possibility of a meeting in
Cairo early next week.
"There is still no agreement on the next round (of talks), but contacts are on-going," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity. "It seems more likely now that the next round will take place in February."
The European Union has been brokering the talks with Tehran on behalf of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, who fear that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
Tehran maintains that its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes only, and wants Western states to lift sanctions before making new concessions.
At the last round of talks in Moscow in June, both sides failed to overcome their differences over who should take which steps first to end the nuclear stand-off.
The European diplomat expressed "disappointment" that the two sides had not yet managed to arrange a meeting, adding, "We showed flexibility when it came to the date and venue."
The group of six wanted to present Tehran with a "refreshed offer" to resume substantive negotiations, "but didn't get the opportunity to do so," the diplomat added.
In the meantime, fears are growing over Tehran's ability to produce weapons-grade uranium.
"If Iran would put all the centrifuges they have now installed in (the enrichment site of) Fordow into operation, their capacity to produce 20-per-cent enriched material would be 4 times as high as it is now," the diplomat said.
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