Iran denied on Saturday that it reached a deal with the U.S. to ship its extra enriched uranium to Russia as part of an effort to minimize nuclear power.
Despite reports earlier in the week that a deal between Washington and Tehran had moved forward, Iran’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Saturday that “no agreement on any nuclear topic” had been made.
Afkham added, “Such news is spread out of political motives and its goal is to tarnish the climate of the talks and make it more complicated to reach a settlement,” according to state-run news agency IRNA.
A second media outlet did confirm that talks of transferring uranium abroad were taking place, however.
Peace talks between Iran and the six “P5+1” powers—the U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany—are set to continue in Geneva on January 15, but barriers between their positions remain.
An interim accord struck on Nov. 24, 2013, yielded steps by Iran to curb aspects of its sensitive nuclear activity, including higher-grade enrichment, in return for a measure of relief from economic sanctions. But last November, the two sides failed for a second time to meet a self-imposed deadline on ending the standoff and extended the period until June 30, 2015.
Among sticking points are the scope of uranium enrichment, the number of centrifuges and pace and sequencing of sanctions relief.
Iran has repeatedly denied that it has any nuclear weapons and has asked Western governments to drop their “unrealistic” demands.