Nuclear talks between world powers and Iran resume
The six powers - United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - made the offer during talks that started in the Kazakh city of Almaty on Tuesday, their first meeting with Iranian negotiators in eight months.
Western diplomats say a breakthrough is unlikely in Almaty but they hope to schedule more talks soon.
The P5+1 group of countries mediating in international efforts to settle the nuclear problem of Iran expects that Iran will give a positive answer to its proposals made on Tuesday, says Michael Mann, the chief spokesperson for EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.
Speaking at a news conference following the first day of negotiations between P5+1 and Iran in Almaty on Tuesday, Mann said that, while he could not predict Iran's response, P5+1 really hoped that Iran would display flexibility and a positive attitude toward the proposals.
Tuesday's talks between the P5+1 and Iran were followed by several bilateral meetings, a European Union spokesman said.
The P5+1 put a proposal before Iran during the meeting, held in Almaty. The proposal was discussed and there would be more discussions on Wednesday, Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told a briefing.
He said several bilateral meetings had been held in the evening but that he had been asked not to elaborate.
He declined to make detailed comments on sentiments at the meeting. He said the meeting had lasted two and a half hours.
He declined to answer whether there had been bilateral U.S. Iranian talks after the meeting.
The first session of nuclear talks between Iran and a group of six international mediators has wrapped up in Kazakhstan’s Almaty.
None of the participants has commented on the outcome of this breakthrough meeting, which followed an eight-month stall in the nuclear stand-off. It remains to be seen whether the meeting will continue later today.
Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said at a press briefing earlier today that this round of talks would last for two days.
Iran has agreed to consider dropping its uranium enrichment program if the UN lifts sanctions against the Islamic Republic, media have cited a source close to Iranian delegation involved in P5+1 nuclear talks.
According to the source, Iran is willing to halt enriching uranium to 20% if the world community and the United Nations agree to scrap sanctions against Tehran.
International mediators have prepared a package of new offers to Tehran to try to reach a breakthrough in the stalled nuclear stand-off.
“We have prepared a good and updated offer for the talks, which we believe is balanced and a fair basis for constructive talks," said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
He said the fresh offer would be more responsive to Iranian ideas. According to Mr. Mann, the EU may revise sanctions against Tehran based on its willingness to talk.
World powers do not expect a breakthrough agreement at nuclear talks with Iran in the Kazakh city of Almaty, a spokesman for the European Union's foreign policy chief said on Tuesday.
"It is clear that nobody expects to come from Almaty with a fully-done deal," Michael Mann told a news conference shortly after negotiations started. Talks are expected to run through Wednesday.
The EU's Catherine Ashton oversees contacts with Iran on behalf of six powers: United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
Another round of talks on Iran’s nuclear problem is getting under way in the Kazakh city of Almaty later today. Taking part are the six international mediators (the five UN Security Council permanent member-states plus Germany), and the delegation of Iran.
The parties to the talks will focus on Tehran’s ongoing effort to enrich uranium.
The western nations are pressing Iran to give up the effort, since uranium, enriched to 20%, could be used by Iran to manufacture a nuclear bomb. But Tehran claims that its programme is exclusively peaceful in character and that it needs uranium as fuel for its research reactor.
Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov urged Iran in the run-up to the talks to cooperate more closely with the international community and voiced hope that the new round of talks would move into the stage of bargaining.
The talks have resumed after an eight-month hiatus and are to last two days. The most recent negotiations between P5+1 and Tehran ran off in June 2012 in Moscow and lasted for two days. This time, the talks can last even longer since diplomats claimed they were intent on going the extra mile.
The Iranian delegation is headed by the country’s National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili, while Russia is represented by Sergei Ryabkov and the US by Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman. The meeting with also be attended by EU’s High Representative Catherine Ashton.
The world needs to see that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful to discuss any weakening of the sanctions, Russia’s Deputy FM Sergey Ryabkov stated in Kazakhstan’s capital of Almaty Monday in the run-up to the Tuesday Big Six talks with Tehran.
The diplomat urged Tehran to be more cooperative and expressed hope that the talks will result in a deal.
Earlier, a US official claimed that the Big Six will offer Iran a swap – milder sanctions for nuclear concessions.
Voice of Russia, RIA, TASS, Interfax, Reuters