The first day of Moscow talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 over Iran’s nuclear ambitions ended constructively, the deputy head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said on Monday.
The Moscow talks, including the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany (5+1), commenced on Monday and are expected to last until Tuesday. Iran’s team of negotiators is headed by Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Saeed Jalili, while EU foreign policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, heads up the Group 5+1 delegation.
“Today we have conducted two sessions of constructive negotiations,” Ali Bagheri said without elaborating. “They will continue tomorrow after midday.”
He warned that any anti-Iranian resolutions would be counterproductive.
“We consider the adoption of resolutions against Iran illegal, illegitimate,” he said.
Michael Mann, spokesman for the European Union’s top foreign policy official, Catherine Ashton, said the talks could continue for three days if necessary, adding that there was hope something could be “put to paper” as a result of the Moscow talks.
This comes in contrast with the general mood on Monday morning with both sides indicating that the Moscow round of talks is unlikely to end in the signing of a final agreement.
“As of right now the chances of making progress in Moscow are very small, minimal,” an Iranian delegate said, adding Iran has no reason to alter its position. “We have our principles. If the Group of Six accepts our proposals we will be ready to accept theirs.”
His view was echoed by Mann.
“In terms of any adjustments, no, what is on the table is what was put on the table in Baghdad,” he said. “It’s in black and white on paper, and it’s there for all to see, so we’re hoping they can take it point by point.”
An Iranian negotiator even said the Moscow talks could end on Monday, not Tuesday, as planned.
The Group 5+1 want Tehran to stop uranium enrichment, in return offering to supply it with fuel for a medical research reactor in Tehran, which requires 20-percent uranium, and to ease sanctions against the sale of commercial aircraft parts to Iran.
Iran says its nuclear program is merely designed to generate energy. The United States has warned it will tighten sanctions against Iran if the Moscow negotiations fail to make progress on limiting the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.