GENEVA, Switzerland (CNN) — Iran says it plans to cooperate “fully” and “immediately” with the U.N. nuclear agency and will invite representatives of the body to visit its newly revealed uranium enrichment facility “soon,” said Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief.
This was one of three major developments at a meeting in Geneva between Iran and world powers over Iran’s nuclear program, and Solana said the meeting “represented the start of what we hope will be an intensive process.”
“I and all the representatives of the six countries were united in underlining the importance of fully transparency and of rebuilding confidence through practical steps. In the course of the day, we had both plenary meetings and bilateral discussions allowing for detailed exchanges on all issues,” Solana said.
The meeting occurred on the heels of the recent revelation that Iran was building a second uranium enrichment facility near the city of Qom, a dramatic development that jacked up tension between Iran and international powers.
International powers want inspectors to have unfettered access to Iran’s new facility and have threatened more sanctions if the Islamic republic doesn’t change its ways.
At a news conference Thursday after the talks, Solana said International Atomic Energy Agency experts are expected to visit the facility near Qom “within the next couple of weeks.”
IAEA spokesman Gill Tudor said Director General Mohamed ElBaradei “has been invited to Tehran by Iranian authorities. He will travel there soon to discuss a number of matters.”
Solana confirmed that world powers and Iran will hold another round of talks before the end of the month, but it is not known where or exactly when.
“An agenda for that meeting will be worked out through diplomatic channels. It will focus on nuclear issues, including proposals previously put forward by both sides. It will also deal with global issues that any of the parties wish to address,” Solana said.
Solana also said world powers and Iran agreed “that low-enriched uranium produced in Iran would be transported to third countries for further enrichment and fabrication into fuel assembles for the Tehran research reactor, which produces isotopes foredical applications.”
Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, spoke at a separate news conference. He called the discussions “good” and said that it is necessary for all nations and all states to have access to peaceful nuclear energy but that no country should have the nuclear bomb.
He noted that the parties hope to reach a framework for future talks, and he said Iran would cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran participated in the talks along with the EU, Germany and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.
Top officials from the United States and Iran huddled on the margins of the Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear program.
Jalili met with William J. Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs who was leading the U.S. delegation, a senior U.S. official and a diplomatic source confirmed.
The men discussed the nuclear program, a sit-down described as the first face-to-face meeting over the Iran’s nuclear program.
The diplomatic source, who characterized the meeting as “serious and frank,” said world powers are pushing for a date for International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to examine the recently revealed nuclear facility in Qom.
They also discussed human rights issues, including detained Americans in Iran. Among those held in Iranian custody are three hikers who strayed from Iraqi territory into Iran.
The sources would talk only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the ongoing discussions with Iran.
“They certainly are historical talks,” said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former weapons inspector. “For the United States and Iran to sit down finally and start to talk about the significant differences between the two countries is extremely important, and I think it’s long overdue.”
The group met at the Villa le Saugy.
The mood at the event’s buffet-style lunch seemed to belie the stark international tensions over the Iranian nuclear issue. Iranians and the other officials dined and mingled, and some ate while seated, and others stood at tables, an official at the talks said.
Many gathered in the villa’s backyard and enjoyed a view of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps, the official said. Along with the U.S. and Iranian officials, many other would huddle together, quietly discussing issues in sidebar conversations, the official said.
The existence of the second uranium enrichment facility prompted President Obama and the leaders of Britain and France to publicly chide the Islamic republic last week at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh and threaten further sanctions.
Iran claims that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes, but many in the international community have accused the country of trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability.