Iran to hold new nuclear talks with powers next week

Iran's foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham speaks to the media during the weekly press conference in Teheran, on Nov 5, 2013. Iran is to hold new talks with major powers on its nuclear programme next week, buoyed by a landmark interim de
Iran's foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham speaks to the media during the weekly press conference in Teheran, on Nov 5, 2013. Iran is to hold new talks with major powers on its nuclear programme next week, buoyed by a landmark interim deal reached last month, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

TEHERAN (AFP) - Iran is to hold new talks with major powers on its nuclear programme next week, buoyed by a landmark interim deal reached last month, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The talks will be joined by representatives of the UN nuclear watchdog, which is charged with overseeing implementation of the deal under which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its programme in return for limited relief from Western sanctions, ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said.

"The expert-level talks between Iran and the P5+1 will be held in Vienna on Dec 9 and 10 with the aim of paving the way to implement the joint plan of action," Afkham said.

She said representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency would join the talks between Iran and Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany as "observers" to help give them a "complete and precise understanding of the agreement." Under the interim deal, which last for six months, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment to the five percent level required for fuel for nuclear power stations.

It also agreed to reduce the level of enrichment of half of its existing stockpiles of uranium enriched to higher levels and convert the rest to fuel form.

Iran's stocks of 20 per cent enriched uranium have been a major focus of Western concerns about its nuclear ambitions as the level is seen as major step towards the 90 per cent plus level required for a weapon.