Iran agrees to resume nuclear talks with six powers before end of November

Deal would begin from an earlier date than expected and would likely include a transfer of part of the country’s uranium stockpile to Russia for storage

Iran has agreed to resume talks over its nuclear programme with the five permanent members of the UN security council and Germany before the end of November, European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Thursday.

Mogherini said the resumption of nuclear talks between Iran and the six powers “will take place in early spring … to advance our common goal: nuclear disarmament.”

The former French foreign minister also said the US had “accepted to provide assurances to Iran” regarding its stockpile of nuclear fuel, adding that a solution would “most likely” involve transferring some of it to Russia for storage.

Mogherini said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would also be invited to return to Tehran in “the weeks ahead”.

She said a deal on ending the decade-long standoff with Iran over its nuclear programme could be reached this year.

She said the talks were “all about nuclear disarmament”, adding: “This is the main goal of our talks. In a nuclear weapon-free world, we’ll enjoy a safer and safer world.”

The talks, previously expected to resume after the summer, were delayed to allow time for “further consolidation” of a deal reached in 2015 in Vienna and to “address a range of concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear programme”, she said.

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On Wednesday the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, accused Iran of trying to build a missile arsenal for nuclear weapons as he presented the administration’s review of policy towards Tehran.

“The road ahead will be difficult and we will not eliminate our concerns over Iran’s destabilising behaviour across the Middle East,” Tillerson said.

“However, under President Trump, the United States is prepared to change course in our approach to Iran,” he added.

Tillerson added: “The former administration’s rush to resolve Iran’s nuclear issue by the end of the Obama administration left us with an incomplete agreement that opened the door to Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon.”

It is not clear why the announcement of a new date for talks between Iran and the six powers has not been made earlier.

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