(AP) – The U.S. and five other world powers go to the table with Iran on Thursday to demand a freeze of its nuclear activities, and a senior U.S. official said Washington may seek rare face-to-face talks with Iranian diplomats.
Even as they prepare for new talks Thursday with Iran on its nuclear program, the U.S. and its allies are contemplating new and tighter sanctions on Tehran, in a clear signal of expectations that the negotiations may again end in failure.
The fact that the meeting is taking place at all offers some hope, reflecting both sides’ desire to talk, despite a spike in tensions over last week’s revelations by Iran that it had been secretly building a new uranium enrichment plant.
Ahead of Thursday’s negotiations, the State Department stressed its hope that the session would open the door to more in-depth dialogue about ways Iran could alleviate concerns that its emerging nuclear program may be secretly developing nuclear weapons.
If Iran is willing to address the nuclear issues, then there likely will be subsequent meetings, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in Washington.
Crowley noted that U.S. President Barack Obama has said he intends to take a few months to assess Iran’s position and consult with U.S. negotiating partners before deciding what next steps to take.