May 17, 2010 / 10:01 AM / 9 years ago

Timeline: Iran's nuclear program

(Reuters) - Iran struck a deal with Brazil and Turkey on Monday over a nuclear fuel swap designed to allay international concern over the Islamic Republic’s atomic ambitions and avert fresh sanctions on the major oil producer. Here is a timeline on Iran’s nuclear program and the diplomacy surrounding since the 2008 talks in Geneva:

July 19, 2008 - Iranian officials rule out any freeze in uranium enrichment during talks in Geneva on the program, attended for the first time by a senior U.S. diplomat.

August 2 - An informal deadline lapses for Iran to respond to an offer from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia for talks.

August 5 - Iran sends a letter to the powers but gives no concrete reply to a demand to freeze its nuclear activity, a step the United States says amounts to obfuscation.

March 20, 2009 - After years of U.S. attempts to isolate Iran, new President Barack Obama calls for “engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.” Iran cautiously welcomes the overture, but says it wants to see “practical steps.”

April 9 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran has mastered the nuclear fuel cycle and also tested more advanced machines for enriching uranium.

August 21 - Diplomats say Iran has allowed IAEA officials to inspect the Arak site and has recently allowed an upgrade to IAEA monitoring at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.

September 9 - Iran hands over a package of proposals which it says addresses “various global issues” and represents a “new opportunity for talks and cooperation.”

September 12 - Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says Iran will not back down in its nuclear row with the West, a day after the United States said it would accept Tehran’s offer of wide-ranging talks with six world powers.

September 24 - China dampens expectations of further sanctions on Iran, telling major powers that more pressure would not persuade Tehran to halt its nuclear program.

— In contrast, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown tells the U.N. the world should consider “far tougher sanctions.”

September 25 - The IAEA says Iran has told it about a second uranium enrichment plant being built. Construction of the plant, near the city of Qom, began in 2006.

October 1 - Iran meets six world powers in Geneva. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili meets U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns and holds a “significant conversation,” an official says.

— Iran agrees at the talks to move most of its enriched uranium out of the country. Iran has not confirmed it is prepared to go through with the deal.

October 25 - U.N. nuclear experts inspect the newly disclosed centrifuge plant being built. The site will refine uranium for civilian nuclear energy.

November 18 - Iran says it will not send its enriched uranium abroad for further processing but would consider swapping it for nuclear fuel within its borders.

November 19 - Obama issues a strong warning to Iran of consequences of its failure to respond to the nuclear deal.

November 24 - World powers have drafted an IAEA resolution urging Iran to clarify the purpose of its previously secret uranium enrichment site, diplomats say.

November 27 - The IAEA votes to censure Iran for developing the Fordow uranium enrichment plant near Qom in secret and demand Iran freezes the project.

November 29 - Iran announces plans to build 10 more nuclear sites in a swipe at growing pressure to rein in its atomic work.

January 19, 2010 - Diplomats say Iran has formally rejected key parts of the deal to send abroad for processing most of its material that could be used to make nuclear arms.

February 2 - Ahmadinejad announces Iran is ready to send its enriched uranium abroad in what appears to be an easing of its position. The next day it launches a Kavoshgar-3 rocket capable of carrying a satellite, a move Washington describes as a “provocative act.”

March 25 - The U.S., Britain, France and Germany begin talks with China and Russia on a U.S.-drafted proposal for a new round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

April 2 - Iran and China agree during talks in Beijing that sanctions “have lost their effectiveness,” chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili says after meeting Chinese officials.

April 12 - Obama’s drive for tougher sanctions on Iran gains momentum at an unprecedented two-day summit that Obama called to highlight the global threat of nuclear terrorism.

April 27 - Brazil has offered to mediate to help end the West’s standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, Foreign Minister Celso Amorim says. He said Brazil could work with Turkey, which has already offered to help.

May 17 - Iran, Brazil and Turkey sign a nuclear fuel swap agreement. Ahmadinejad calls for fresh talks with major powers over the nuclear program saying, “Following the signing of the nuclear fuel swap deal, it is time for 5+1 countries to enter talks with Iran based on honesty, justice and mutual respect.”

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