AFP: A senior US official called on the international community Wednesday to cooperate with Washington in persuading Iran to agree to fresh talks on its nuclear programme. ANKARA (AFP) A senior US official called on the international community Wednesday to cooperate with Washington in persuading Iran to agree to fresh talks on its nuclear programme.
“The United States is pursuing a peaceful diplomatic strategy towards Iran,” US Under Secretary for State Nicholas Burns told reporters here after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We think the best course is for the United States to work with many other countries — other European countries, with Russia and China — to convince Iran that diplomacy and negotiations are the way forward,” he said.
“And the responsibility lies with Iran to choose negotiations,” Burns added.
Western powers are to meet in Washington on Friday to discuss a new UN Security Council sanctions resolution in the standoff.
The Security Council has adopted three resolutions against Iran. Two include sanctions because of Iran’s refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
Iran’s enrichment program has prompted global concern that the Islamic regime is seeking to develop a nuclear weapon, but Iranian authorities insist they want to exploit nuclear power for peaceful purposes.
Burns said countries around the world must abide by the UN-imposed sanctions in order to get Iran to agree to negotiations.
“If diplomacy is to be effective, we will need the support of all countries in Asia, in the Middle East, in Europe to contribute to the sanctions against Iran,” Burns said.
Turkey triggered US criticism in July when it signed a preliminary gas deal with neighbouring Iran to carry natural gas to Europe.
Erdogan defended the deal at the time as an “attractive offer” that served Turkey’s interests.