Washington, Jan 22 (ANI): Baroness Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union (EU), has reportedly offered Iran access to peaceful nuclear technology and an end to UN sanctions, provided Tehran agreed to surrender its enriched uranium stockpile that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.
The Telegraph quoted a senior US diplomat as saying that Baroness Ashton made the offer on behalf of the P5+1,the five permanent members of the United National Security Council and Germany, during Friday meeting on Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"Iran's nuclear programme has been slowed down and sanctions are hurting them. That means we have time, and they have reason, to reach an agreement. But Iran has so far said it is unwilling to surrender its right to enrich uranium - a key part of the deal," the diplomat said.
While US representatives raised question about Iran's nuclear ambitions, the country's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili questioned the "fundamental problems of global politics," a reference to Israel's strategic weapons capabilities and the presence of US troops of Iraq.
However, the representatives from Washington told Iran that these questions could be discussed in a separate bilateral meeting, but it has so far refused to hold such talks.
According to Bruno Tertais, a nuclear expert, both sides are in favour of a negotiated deal, but they have asymmetric expectations of what exactly it should be."
The paper quoted Turkish diplomatic sources as saying that in a separate behind-the-scenes meeting, Turkey has urged Iran to agree to the deal as a confidence-building step. They also said the deal had come up in talks with Ali Bagheri, the Deputy Chief of Iran's nuclear negotiation team during his two visits to Turkey in the last three weeks. ast year, a similar Turkish and Brazilian-brokered deal was rejected by the P5+1 because it would still have left the Iran with enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb. Iran also refused to go ahead with the deal, the paper said.
The P5+1 appears divided on what to do if a deal fails to materialise. The US has suggested it may consider harsher sanctions, but Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said this would be "counterproductive," it added. (ANI)