Newscast Media GENEVA—The Obama administration is encouraged by Iran’s stated desire to improve relations with the international community, and it is seeking to “test those assurances” in talks taking place in Geneva.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva October 14, a senior administration official who asked not to be identified said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had indicated he would be presenting a detailed proposal concerning Iran’s uranium-enrichment program, which the international community has long believed is part of a larger program for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.
“We are ready to hear it, to listen to it, and to go to work, if it is substantive and concrete,” the official said.
“We will be looking for specific steps that address core issues, such as the pace and scope of its enrichment program, the transparency of its overall nuclear program, and its stockpiles of enriched uranium. In essence, we’re looking for confidence-building measures that begin to address some of our priority concerns on the way to a comprehensive agreement,” the official said.
Zarif and officials from the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany are holding two days of discussions on Iran’s nuclear future. The negotiating group is known as the P5+1 because it includes the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.
The standoff over Iran’s nuclear activities “is not just about the U.S. and Iran; this is about the international community and Iran,” the official said.
The P5+1 is seeking an agreement that will resolve the world’s concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, including compliance with its responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and U.N. Security Council resolutions, but that also respects “the rights of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.”
The international community has responded to Iran’s nuclear program with economic sanctions. The official said sanctions “can be addressed if Iran addresses all of our concerns and all of their obligations and responsibilities under the NPT and U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
Because of the complexity of the issues being discussed, the official said, it is unlikely that an agreement will be reached in the two days of talks.
“But if we can begin to move forward in a way that we have not been able to up until now, then we will begin to see actions that match the tone and the words,” the official said.
“The history of mistrust is very deep. But we have to start somewhere. We hope we can start here,” the official said.
Newscast Media TEHRAN—Iran is determined to resolve the nuclear dispute in a “short period of time,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday.
“Iran has the legitimate right to pursue nuclear energy under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is ready to remove international concerns in its talks with the P5+1,” (Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany), Rouhani was quoted by official IRNA news agency as saying during a meeting with new Ambassador of the Netherlands to Tehran Johannes Douma.
He expressed hope that Iran’s relations with member states of the European Union, including the Netherlands, would be improved in economic, cultural and political areas. He criticized the sanctions against Iran, saying that it has affected the lives of the ordinary people. For his part, Douma said the Netherlands is interested in promotion of all-out cooperation with Iran.
On the same day, Rouhani also urged Germany to play a positive role in solving dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program, according to Press TV.
In a meeting with new German Ambassador to Tehran Michael Baron von Ungern, Rouhani expressed hope that Germany would play a “positive and constructive role” at the upcoming Geneva talks to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue.
Iran insists on nuclear enrichment as its “right for peaceful nuclear activities.” However, the West suspects that the Iranian nuclear enrichment program may be used to develop weapon-grade activities.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif said Sunday that the world leaders should think about new proposals for the upcoming nuclear talks.
He said that “the previous proposals by the P5+1 belong to history and they should attend the upcoming talks with new proposals.”
The P5+1 and Iran met two times in Almaty, Kazakhstan in February and April. Their talks ended without tangible results.
They asked Iran to suspend its high-grade uranium enrichment and close down the underground bunker of Fordow where Iran enriches uranium to 20 percent. In return, they offered to relieve some of the sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical industry and its trade in precious metals. However, Iran did not accept the proposal, urging the powers to completely lift the sanctions.
Newscast Media TEHRAN—The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency has said that Iran will continue to increase the number of centrifuges in its nuclear facilities despite the sanctions that have been imposed on the country.
“The sanctions have targeted our people and cancer patients. The centrifuges will increase day by day, and we will continue our program according to the plans that we announce to the agency and under the supervision of the agency, and enrichment will never be halted,” Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh told Al-Alam News Network in an interview published on Monday.
“The purpose behind keeping Iran’s dossier open is to turn the International Atomic Energy Agency into a spy and intelligence organization,” he stated.
The Iranian ambassador also stated that the UN nuclear watchdog should take Iran’s demands into consideration at negotiations, noting, “We must be assured that our security considerations will be taken into account and that the agency will fully protect our intelligence. And the agency must agree to provide us with the documents they claim to have.”
Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog have agreed to hold a new round of talks in Tehran on December 13. The latest round of talks between Iran and the IAEA was held in Vienna on August 24.
Source: Tehran Times