Russia says seeking nuclear talks with Iran by end-Jan
By Steve Gutterman
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday it is trying to firm up plans for a new round of talks this month between global powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear programme, which the West suspects is aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability.
Iranian news agency ISNA said on Wednesday that Iran and six world powers would resume talks in late January, but a European Union official said the two sides had yet to agree a date. No venue has been agreed.
"Russia is concerned about this and we continue to work, including with our Iranian partners, to resolve this issue as soon as possible," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to state-run news agency Itar-Tass.
Ryabkov, Russia's negotiator at the talks, said that until there is a final agreement "there is no agreement".
The Russian Foreign Ministry said later that there was an understanding among the parties involved that the meeting should take place this month, and that the dates reported by ISNA - January 28-29 - were being discussed.
But it said the dates could change if there is no agreement on the venue, and added that Russia was open to any venue.
Senior U.N. nuclear inspectors were in Iran for a second day of talks on Thursday, seeking to unblock a long-stalled investigation into suspected atomic bomb research in the Islamic state.
ISNA confirmed discussions had resumed, but gave no further details. There was no immediate comment from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog. Continued...