Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Iran nuclear negotiator holds talks with China

Tehran is preparing to open its nuclear facilities to foreign guests.

BEIJING // Iran’s deputy nuclear negotiator has held talks in Beijing with top Chinese diplomats, officials from both sides said Thursday, as Tehran prepares to open its nuclear facilities to foreign guests.

Ali Bagheri met Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Hailong on Wednesday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said.

"The two sides exchanged views on China, Iranian bilateral relations as well as the Iranian nuclear issue," he said.

Iranian embassy spokesman Mohammad Ali Ziaei confirmed the meetings, saying the two sides had discussed the Islamic republic's "peaceful nuclear activities", and said on Thursday that Bagheri had headed back to Tehran.

China is among a group of nations invited by Iran to visit the country's main uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and the heavy water facility at Arak over the weekend.

Beijing last week confirmed it had received the invitation but did not say whether it had accepted the offer. Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Thursday suggested the Chinese envoy might not be able to attend.

The unusual move to open up its facilities comes as Tehran works to garner support for its atomic drive in the run-up to fresh talks with six world powers in Turkey at month's end, aimed at ascertaining the nature of Iran's programme.

Tehran insists it only seeks to meet the energy needs of its population, while the West and Israel charge that it is developing nuclear weapons.

The previous round of talks -- bringing together Iran, Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany -- was held in Geneva on December 6-7 after a 14-month hiatus.

"China hopes the talks can help all parties build mutual trust and consensus. China also hopes positive progress can be made at the talks," Hong told reporters.

"We are willing to make joint efforts to achieve this goal."

Diplomatic sources at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, said invitations for the visit had gone out to Russia, China, Egypt and Cuba, as well as to Hungary as rotating president of the European Union.

However, the sources said the United States, Britain, France and Germany were not on the list.

Iran's IAEA envoy has reportedly said that representatives from allies Venezuela and Syria would join the Saturday-to-Monday visit.

The European Union said it would not attend.

Such visits are rare. The last trip that Tehran arranged for members of the IAEA was in February 2007.

 

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 A view of a defaced portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an anti-North Korean rally on the 102nd birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung in central Seoul. Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

Best photography from around the world, April 15

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National