Iran Says Time Running Out for Nuclear Deal


Alan Cowell
New York Times
January 12, 2011

PARIS — A week before nuclear talks resume with outside powers, a senior Iranian official was quoted on Wednesday as saying that time was running out for negotiations on some parts of his country’s nuclear program because of Tehran’s enhanced ability to enrich and manufacture atomic fuel.

It was not clear whether the remarks were intended as an overture — or as a maneuver to raise the stakes — before the negotiations restart.

The official, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, referred in particular to an abortive agreement dating to October 2009 providing for Iran to ship nuclear material abroad in return for nuclear fuel rods for a research reactor in Teheran. The energy agency is the United Nations’ nuclear supervisory body.

“Time is moving against the negotiating side,” Mr. Soltanieh said, referring to the group of countries — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — that, along with the European Union, are set to resume talks with Iranian negotiators in Istanbul on Jan. 21 following inconclusive negotiations in Geneva in December. “It should use the chance at the earliest.”

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