Iran, US to Begin Indirect Nuke Talks 06/28 06:15
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Iran and the United States appeared
poised Tuesday to start indirect talks in Qatar aimed at finding a way to save
Tehran's tattered nuclear deal with world powers.
The state-owned Tehran Times posted a photograph of Iran's top nuclear
negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, in a hotel lobby with Iranian Ambassador to Qatar
Hamidreza Dehghani. The newspaper said Bagheri Kani was in Doha, the Qatari
capital, for the resumption of the talks.
Rob Malley, the U.S. special representative for Iran, arrived in Qatar on
Monday night ahead of the talks. The U.S. Embassy in Qatar said Malley met with
Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to discuss "joint
diplomatic efforts to address issues with Iran," but declined to immediately
offer any other details about his trip.
Qatar's Foreign Ministry later issued a statement saying it "welcomed"
hosting the talks. It said the talks aimed to reestablish the deal "in a way
that supports and enhances security, stability and peace in the region and
opens new horizons for broader regional cooperation and dialogue with the
Islamic Republic of Iran."
Iran and world powers agreed in 2015 to the nuclear deal, which saw Tehran
drastically limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of
economic sanctions. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew
America from the accord, raising tensions across the wider Middle East and
sparking a series of attacks and incidents.
Talks in Vienna about reviving the deal have been on a "pause" since March.
Since the deal's collapse, Iran has been running advanced centrifuges and
rapidly growing stockpile of enriched uranium.
Earlier this month, Iran removed 27 surveillance cameras of the
International Atomic Energy Agency to pressure the West toward making a deal.
The IAEA's director-general warned it could deal a "fatal blow" to the accord
as Tehran enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels.
Nonproliferation experts warn Iran has enriched enough up to 60% purity -- a
short technical step from weapons-grade levels of 90% -- to make one nuclear
weapon, should it decide to do so.
Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes, though U.N. experts and
Western intelligence agencies say Iran had an organized military nuclear
program through 2003.
Building a nuclear bomb would still take Iran more time if it pursued a
weapon, analysts say, though they warn Tehran's advances make the program more
dangerous. Israel has threatened in the past that it would carry out a
preemptive strike to stop Iran -- and already is suspected in a series of
recent killings targeting Iranian officials.