5+1 to Meet on Iran Thursday

Officials from six world powers are expected to meet Thursday for talks on persuading Iran to halt its uranium enrichment work. The meeting in Berlin will involve senior diplomats from Germany and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members — the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China.

The US State Department has said the meeting will not include talks on another Security Council resolution against Iran. Tehran has until May 23 to comply with the latest resolution.

The Security Council has already imposed sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to stop uranium enrichment, a process that can currently only be used by Tehran to produce fuel for nuclear power plants, as Iran has accessed the technology for enriching uranium to a low level (3.5 to 5 percent) while atomic bombs need highly enriched uranium (above 90 percent) in their core.

On Wednesday, the United States warned that Iran may be considering leaving the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

US special representative Christopher Ford told a 130-nation nuclear conference in Vienna there are signs Iran may withdraw from the treaty.

The US suspicion over Iran’s withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty followed Iran’s strong objections at a session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, where the US delegation strove to exclude some articles of the treaty which entitle and rather encourage all world states to access civilian nuclear technology and require the established nuclear powers to help such states.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies vehemently.

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