U.S. Seeks Direct Meeting With Iran Over Nuclear Program
American officials have announced that they are seeking to meet directly with Iranian officials during next week’s nuclear talks in Kazakhstan, the Wall Street Journal reported.
U.S. and European officials hope that the diplomatic overtures can create a fissure within Iran’s leadership ahead of its presidential election in June. Several Iranian leaders have spoken out in favor of direct talks with the U.S, but it is unclear whether or not Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would agree. Khamenei said recently in a speech that he is against talks.
“If Iran says yes, that would be great,” a European official told the Wall Street Journal. “If not, we think they’ll be more isolated.”
Talks are scheduled next week in Almaty, Kazakhstan between Iran and group known as P5+1—the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
According to the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) quarterly report released this week, Iran has continued advancing its nuclear program. Iran installed 180 advanced IR-2m centrifuge machines at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.
“The advance is significant both in terms of technology and timing. The IR-2m centrifuges can enrich three to five times faster than the outmoded machines now being used at Natanz,” the Associated Press reported.