Kazakhstan: Despite large differences, Iran, world powers still favour talks

7th Apr 2013

By Yang Dingdu, He Guanghai

TEHRAN, (Xinhua): Despite major differences between Iran and the world powers over the Islamic republic’s disputed nuclear program during the latest round of talks, analysts say gestures for the continuation of negotiations are still resonated from both sides, which is favored to be the best choice.

The two-day nuclear talks between Iran and so-called P5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) in Almaty, Kazakhstan concluded on Saturday with both sides saying that the gap of views over the key points could not be bridged.

Iran and the P5+1 group remained “far apart” on key issues, Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s head of foreign policy, said at the end of the meeting.

Echoing her words, Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili side as far as Iran’s nuclear issue is concerned, “differences in the views of the parties exist.”

While Iranian officials stressed that any mechanism to settle Iran’s nuclear issue in the talks should take into consideration the recognition of Iran’s right to enrichment activities, the revised proposal by the world powers asked Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment and shut down its underground Fordow enrichment facilities in return for limited sanction relief.

“Either 5 percent or 20 percent uranium enrichment is part of Iranian nation’s right,” and as a means to building confidence, the West should give up its “hostile attitude” toward the Islamic republic, Jalili asserted, implying the torrent of sanctions that have been imposed against the country for years.

Calling the sanctions as a tool to press Iran to refrain from its suspected nuclear activities, Ashton said that “the purpose of sanctions is to put pressure on Iran to see if this process works.”

Still divided on the main topic of the meeting – uranium enrichment – the two sides disinclined to leave the talks closed- ended.

Although no specific date and venue was designated for the follow-up meetings, the Iranian chief nuclear negotiator said that his country stresses the continuation of talks and Ashton will contact him later to discuss the means of how to proceed with the negotiations.

Avoiding confrontation in favor of dialogue is an overwhelming trend not only among the P5+1 nuclear mediators and Iranian politicians, but also scholars and analysts who assert it will be instrumental for the interests of all sides.

“The reason for this approach is quite clear,” said Sadeq Zibakalam, a professor of political science at Tehran University, adding “The West has two options to prevent Iran from gaining access to nuclear weapons. One is to threat Iran by the military attack and the other is to compromise via talking with Iran.”

“An elementary school pupil in the United States will tell you that the choice of Washington in this regard is the second one,” the Iranian university professor posted in a comment on the meeting via facebook.

Western states “never closed the doors for negotiations. They are even ready for the talks with Iran on June 13, one day before Iran’s (upcoming) presidential elections,” the Iranian university professor contended.

Also, Zibakalam in his earlier interview told Xinhua that Iran will not leave the negotiating table under great economic pressure and at risk of international isolation.



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