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U.S., allies to set demands for Iran nuclear talks: report

(Xinhua)

08:38, April 09, 2012

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Xinhua) -- The United States and its Western allies will set demands for the upcoming negotiations on Iran's disputed nuclear program, local media reported Sunday.

The demands include immediately closing the Fordow nuclear facility and stopping the production of 20-percent enriched uranium, according to the New York Times.

Quoting unnamed U.S. and European diplomats, the report said Washington and its allies will demand the immediate closing and ultimate dismantling of the recently completed Fordow underground nuclear facility, which is located near the Iranian central Shi'ite holy city of Qom.

They will also call for a halt in the production of uranium fuel of 20 percent purity, which is considered just a few steps from bomb grade, and the shipment of existing stockpiles of that fuel out of Iran, the diplomats was quoted as saying.

The Fordow nuclear plant has been built for producing up to 20 percent enriched uranium. The start of the nuclear work at the Fordow site has increased international fear as the West suspects that Iran's uranium enrichment might be aimed at moving closer to the ability to make nuclear weapons.

"We have no idea how the Iranians will react," a senior U.S. official told the New York Times. "We probably won't know after the first meeting."

According to the report, the officials said that their "urgent priority" was to get Iran to give up -- and ship out of the country -- its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity, and to get Tehran to close Fordow.

Iran insists that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereidoon Abbasi said Sunday that Iran will not stop high-grade uranium enrichment, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Iranian media reported Sunday that Turkish city Istanbul has been confirmed as the venue for the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers slated for next week.

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