Iran's nuke-related demands prerequisites, not pre-conditions, says key official

Istanbul (Turkey), Jan.23 (ANI): Iran's chief negotiator on nuclear-related talks with the P5+1 countries, Saeed Jalili, has rubbished reports that Tehran had set preconditions to ensure the success of the negotiations, that eventually collapsed on Saturday.

Addressing a news conference after the conclusion of the two-day talks here, Jalili said that Iran's demands were in fact "prerequisites" that were mandatory to further discussion.

He also accused the P5+1 of wanting "dictation, not dialogue."

According to the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), both sides appeared to be on different wavelengths.

While Jalili mentioned the word "nuclear" well into his press conference, European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represented the P5+1, said Iran's nuclear program was the "only" issue discussed.

Jalili later told CSM that in talks aimed at "finding common ground for cooperation, there shouldn't be any disappointment."

"We believe that if we were committed [together] into a common logic, we could have better results and achievements. And, that common logic, is respecting the rights of nations and avoiding confronting the nation's rights," he added.

His views came in the wake of Iran and the six world powers failing to make any progress during two days of talks here, raising questions about the future of diplomacy over that nation's controversial nuclear program.ccording to the CSM, Iran appears to have overreached by misjudging the willingness of the P5+1 - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany - to step away from a process it had come to see as pointless.

"This is not the conclusion I had hoped for," said Ashton.

Expressing her disappointment with the negotiation process, Ashton said: "We had hoped to have a detailed and constructive discussion of those ideas, but it became clear that the Iranian side was not ready for this unless we agreed to preconditions relating to enrichment and sanctions. Both these preconditions are not a way to proceed."

Numerous UN Security Council resolutions - four of them imposing targeted sanctions on Iran - require Tehran to stop enriching uranium while it resolves questions about possible weapons efforts.

Noting that enrichment is a "right" guaranteed by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has continued to make homemade 3.5 percent low-enriched uranium, and last February began refining further to 20 percent purity for nuclear fuel, bringing it one step closer to a weapons-grade capacity of 90 percent.

Iranian analysts have suggested a compromise in which Iran would continue to enrich on its soil, while opening up to much more intrusive inspections and guarantees that its program is limited to producing energy.

But in Istanbul, diplomats of the six world powers said they were unable to even gauge how receptive Iran might be to such a deal, because every conversation circled back to Iran's preconditions.

"It's hard to say what [Iranian] expectations were. What seems clear is what their tactics were about, which was to try to split the group and see if they could extract those preconditions up front, and ... what they were met with was a very clear message and response. If that was their calculus going in, I think they miscalculated," said a senior US official.

According to the Washington Post, the U.S. and European officials said they were encouraged by the cohesion shown by the six countries on the other side of the negotiating table.

They said that the group's unanimity could enhance prospects for a broad international agreement on future sanctions or other punitive measures to force concessions from Iran in the future.

A senior Obama administration official said Iran left with a pretty clear impression of the unity of this group.

Negotiations between Iran and the six world powers resumed last month in Geneva after a pause of more than a year.

In those talks, Iran agreed to a second round of meetings in Istanbul, raising hopes that it might be ready to consider limits on its nuclear program.

Western diplomats had arrived in Istanbul on Thursday with a list of what they called "practical steps" that Iran could adopt to prove that its nuclear intentions are peaceful.

Among them was a revamped version of last year's Tehran Research Reactor proposal, in which France and Russia agreed to provide Iran with much-needed fuel rods for a medical research reactor if Iran would part with a large chunk of its stockpile of enriched uranium. Such a deal would have left Iran with less than the minimum amount of nuclear fuel needed to make a single atomic bomb.

Iran, however, opened the talks on a jarring note, insisting it would not discuss any of the measures until Western powers agreed to end all economic sanctions and formally recognize Iran's right to develop a wide range of nuclear technologies, including uranium enrichment. Iran has insisted that it has no plans to make atomic weapons. (ANI)

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