Iran hopes ‘forward movement’ continues in nuclear talks
Iran said on Friday it is hopeful “forward movement” continues during talks with major world powers over its controversial nuclear drive, the state broadcaster and ISNA news agency reported.
“Almaty I meeting bore positive results, and we also hope that in Almaty II
this forward movement continues,” IRIB’s website reported Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi as saying in Dushanbe, where he is attending a ministerial meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue.
He was referring to a meeting in the Kazahkh capital with the P5+1 group (Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany), which offered to ease non-oil or financial sector-related sanctions in exchange for concessions over Tehran’s sensitive uranium enrichment operations.
The offer also demanded a tougher nuclear inspection regime and the interruption of enrichment operations at the Fordo bunker facility where 20-per cent enrichment goes on.
The two sides are to meet again in Almaty on April 5 and 6.
However, Salehi said: “This issue will not be solved overnight, and understanding this issue is very important and opens the way” to a solution.
“The process of solving this issue has begun,” he was quoted by ISNA as saying, without elabourating.
After the first Almaty meeting in February, a meeting of experts was held in Istanbul.
Chief Russian negotiator Sergei Ryabkov said those talks were positive in tone but produced no breakthrough.
Salehi’s comments come a week after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say over Tehran’s nuclear programme, for the first time signalled openness to US offers to hold direct talks on the matter, but voiced pessimism over the chances of a breakthrough.
The two governments have had no diplomatic relations for more than three decades.
The West, spearheaded by Iran arch rivals Washington and Israel, suspect Tehran is using its nuclear programme as cover for for a weapons capability. Iran strongly denies that.
Iran is under multiple rounds of UN sanctions over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, as well as additional unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union targeting its oil income and access to the global banking system.