Nuclear mediators meet to discuss incentives for Iran

By RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Six countries mediating in the nuclear dispute with Iran will meet in Shanghai on Wednesday to discuss new incentives for Tehran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said deputy foreign ministers from the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany will discuss economic, security and technological steps to persuade the Islamic Republic to resume talks.

The international community has demanded that Tehran halt uranium enrichment, used both in electricity generation and nuclear weapons production. Iran insists on its right to civilian nuclear energy, and has defied three sets of United Nations sanctions over its nuclear program.

In a sign of defiance Iran said earlier this month it had started to install another 6,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges at its underground facility in Natanz in addition to its 3,000. The country also announced tests of advanced enrichment centrifuges, along with plans to build a second uranium processing plant by next March.

The six countries – the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany – had already offered Iran cooperation in the civilian nuclear sphere and trade incentives if it froze its nuclear program.

The country’s nuclear ambitions have fueled tensions with Washington, with U.S. President George Bush refusing late last year to rule out military action against Tehran.

Russia and China, which both have strong business interests in Iran, blocked stronger measures against the country using their vetoes at the UN Security Council.