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Iran calls for ´comprehensive, long term dialogue´ over nuclear talks (TELEGRAPH UK) By David Blair, Istanbul 04/14/12) Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9203235/Iran-calls-for-comprehensive-long-term-dialogue-over-nuclear-talks.html
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Iran´s foreign minister called for "comprehensive, long term dialogue" yesterday as the adversaries in the confrontation over Tehran´s nuclear ambitions prepared for crucial talks.
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The negotiations set to open in Istanbul on Saturday will be the first time that Iran has formally met the world´s leading powers for more than a year. Unlike during a previous round of fruitless talks, Tehran has agreed to discuss its nuclear programme without preconditions.
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Ali Akbar Salehi, the foreign minister and a relative moderate in Tehran´s opaque power structure, sounded a conciliatory note yesterday, saying: "We hope that all sides will return to the negotiating table as equals with mutual respect; that all sides will be committed to comprehensive, long-term dialogue."
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Writing in the Washington Post, Mr Salehi added that it was "most important that all sides make genuine efforts to re-establish confidence and trust".
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However, the gap between the two sides remains immense. Iran insists on its right to enrich uranium, a highly sensitive process that could be used to make the essential material for a nuclear weapon – although Mr Salehi adamantly denied any such intention.
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Meanwhile, the six world powers who will meet Iran´s representatives today want Tehran to obey six United Nations resolutions and stop all enrichment. This group consists of the five permanent members of the Security Council – Britain, America, France, Russia and China – along with Germany.
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But they are also riven by divisions, with Russia and China taking a markedly different line towards Iran than the Western members of the group.
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Nonetheless, experts said that today´s talks could succeed in at least lowering the temperature of the confrontation.
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"I´m cautiously optimistic, because I sense the main goal for these first talks may be sensibly modest: just to get a process launched," said Peter Jenkins, who negotiated with Iran as Britain´s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency between 2001 and 2006. "I think it would be a mistake for the West to go in with extravagant demands that might precipitate another breakdown on the very first lap."
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But American officials have laid out clear demands: they want Iran to close the Fordow nuclear plant, a once secret facility constructed in breach of international safeguards. They are also likely to ask Iran to export the uranium it has already enriched to 20 per cent purity – a vital step towards the 90 per cent required for nuclear weapons.
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Ben Rohdes, the US deputy national security adviser, yesterday called on Iran to show "seriousness" about moving forward with dialogue.
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Iran´s representatives have already voiced their opposition to these demands. Mr Jenkins cautioned against expecting a swift result, even if today´s talks go well. "This issue will only ever be resolved via a protracted process. The complexity is such that it could not be otherwise," he said. (© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012. 04/14/12)
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