No agreement yet reached on nuclear talks’ agenda: Tehran

Sunday, October 31, 2010

TEHRAN - Tehran said Sunday that no agreement has yet been reached on the agenda of the scheduled nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers.

“We are ready for talks but what is currently necessary is that both sides reach an agreement on the content and details of the agenda,” foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.

“A more specific framework should be found regarding the agenda for eventually gaining fruitful results from the talks,” he said.

Mehmanparast said that date and venue was of secondary importance and if the agenda was clarified, Iran could even start the talks earlier than the date (Nov 15-17) proposed by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Observers believe that although Iran was quite eager to resume the talks but not willing to attend a meeting with an ultimatum agenda - suspension or further sanctions - which has also in the previous years constantly failed.

Also an adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday that Iran was concerned about the agenda of proposed nuclear talks and maintains its own conditions for resuming the negotiations with the world powers,

“The president made it quite clear that there are certain conditions and frameworks which should be on the agenda of the talks,” Ali-Akbar Javanfekr told Fars news agency.

He said Tehran wants the world powers clarify their stance on Israel’s policies and its nuclear weapons, and declare whether the aim of the talks is to improve relations or merely to pressure Iran.

“If these conditions were met, then we would be willing to attend the meeting, but we will not (solely) talk about the nuclear energy issue,” the adviser added.

The 5+1 group - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US - plans to resume the nuclear talks Nov 15-17 in Vienna.

Ashton, who represents the 5+1 group, has informed Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saedi Jalili about the date and venue. Jalili has neither confirmed nor rejected the proposal yet.

Instead, he sent Ashton a letter Friday saying that Iran was willing to agree on a time and a venue to begin talks after Nov 10, but did not refer to her proposal.

Javanfekr said Jalili made it clear that Iran was ready for the talks “but only if the Iranian conditions were considered and met.”

The world powers want the talks to focus on the nuclear dispute and Iran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. But Tehran says the 5+1 group should acknowledge Iran’s nuclear rights, and broaden the talks to include global issues.

Mehmanparast last week said “the agenda should have content and not just form”, adding that not only date and venue but also the agenda should be clarified.

One possible alternative could allow Iran to continue uranium enrichment to 3.5 percent under the supervision of International Atomic Energy Agency, and send the low-enriched product to a third country in exchange for fuel from one of the nuclear nations.

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