Iran calls for ´comprehensive, long term dialogue´ over nuclear talks (TELEGRAPH UK) By David Blair, Istanbul 04/14/12)
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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.
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
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."
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".
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.
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
But they are also riven by divisions, with Russia and China taking a
markedly different line towards Iran than the Western members of the
Nonetheless, experts said that today´s talks could succeed in at
least lowering the temperature of the confrontation.
"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
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.
Ben Rohdes, the US deputy national security adviser, yesterday called
on Iran to show "seriousness" about moving forward with dialogue.
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
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