Today in Geneva, started the next round of talks between Iran and “six” of international mediators / known as P 5+1 – five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UK, China, France, Russia, US) plus Germany trying to resolve the Iranian “nuclear dossier”. The previous round of talks was held in Alma-Ata in April this year.
What might happen over the next two days ?
These are the first such talks since President Rouhani took office in August. Seen as a relative moderate, Mr Rouhani has said he wants a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme within six months.
In particular, speaking to the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, said that Iran’s nuclear program “is intended purely for peaceful purposes”. “Nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran’s military doctrine – he said. – This weapon is contrary to our fundamental religious and ethical convictions”. According to him, is the national interest of Iran – to remove any suspicions about its nuclear program. However, Rouhani said that other countries should respect the right of Iran to enrich nuclear material.
The European Union says Iran has opened the latest round of talks with the international community by proposing a new plan to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program. Michael Mann, the spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, made the announcement after the start of two-day talks in Geneva. He particularly noted that the constructive atmosphere is connected, in particular, statements that have made the Iranian side. “We are coming to the talks with cautious optimism and determination, because it’s time for real results – he added. – It is necessary to consider all the details. Hopefully these two days will be productive”. “Our proposals include measures to build trust. We’ll see what has to offer Tehran” – continued Mann. According to him, the negotiation process as a whole should continue as long as necessary to achieve the result.
Mann added that the chief of the European Union diplomacy Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, held in Geneva constructive bilateral meeting. “The parties have discussed over dinner existing issues, the meeting was constructive and held in a positive atmosphere” – he said.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, a senior member of negotiating team, said Sunday that Tehran is bringing a new proposal to the talks to dispel doubts about the nuclear program. While offering no details, he told Iran’s student news agency ISNA that the Islamic Republic should “enter into a trust-building path with the West”. In the interest of the negotiation process, the parties do not intend to disclose the contents of the new proposals of Iran.
The Iranian team is led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, although much of the actual negotiating is expected to be delegated to his deputy, Abbas Araqchi. Catherine Ashton is leading the 5+1 group. Iranian officials say they will present a roadmap aimed at ending the decade-long dispute over the nature of their country’s nuclear programme. No breakthrough is expected in the initial two days of talks in Geneva, but Iran’s foreign minister said he hoped a “roadmap” could be agreed.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it would be wrong to ease pressure on Tehran. Speaking in parliament, he said that any move to let up on the Iranian government would only strengthen its “uncompromising elements”, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “will be perceived as the winner”.
The most recent report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says Iran has 185 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium and is maintaining this level by converting excess material into fuel rods.
In April 2013, the P5+1 proposed that Iran:
- Cease enrichment to 20%
- Ship most of stockpile of 20%-enriched uranium abroad, keeping some for Tehran research reactor
- Accept comprehensive verification regime
- Address questions about military research activity
Iran responded by demanding P5+1:
- Recognise Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium
- Ease all UN, US and EU sanctions