AFP: The United States on Friday said it hoped for multilateral talks with Iran soon to test the Islamic Republic's willingness to address nuclear and other concerns, despite Tehran's "disappointing" written proposals. WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States on Friday said it hoped for multilateral talks with Iran soon to test the Islamic Republic's willingness to address nuclear and other concerns, despite Tehran's "disappointing" written proposals.
Earlier in Brussels, the European Union said the United States and the five other major countries dealing with Iran are to seek an urgent meeting with Tehran following its package of proposals.
"If you go to the Iran document, it says the Iranian nation is prepared to enter into dialogue and negotiation and so on and so forth," said Philip Crowley, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.
"We will seek an early meeting, and we will seek to test Iran's willingness to engage," Crowley told reporters.
Crowley hoped for a meeting involving senior officials from Iran and the P5-plus-1, or the permanent five veto-weilding members of the UN Security Council — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France — plus Germany.
"From the standpoint of the international community, the central issue that we have is the nuclear issue. If we have talks, we will plan to bring up the nuclear issue," Crowley said.
"We will hope, as we said earlier this week in the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), that Iran will choose to engage the international community, to address the concerns that we have about the nuclear program," he said.
"But it's not just a meeting for meeting's sake, it is a meeting to be able to see if Iran is willing to engage us seriously on these issues," Crowley said.
Brussels and Washington have deemed insufficient the proposals Iran submitted on Wednesday to the P5-plus-1.
A US non-profit investigative journalism group, Pro Publica, said Thursday it obtained a copy of Iran's proposal in which Tehran said it was prepared to hold "comprehensive, all-encompassing and constructive negotiations."
The talks would address nuclear disarmament as well as a global framework for the use of "clean nuclear energy," according to the document published on Pro Publica's website, but it did not address Iran's own nuclear program.
In his first reaction to the proposals, Crowley said Thursday: "It is not really responsive to our greatest concern, which is obviously Iran's nuclear program."
On Friday, a senior State Department official described the package as "disappointing."
The United States has raised the specter of another round of sanctions if Iran fails to engage the international community, particularly over its uranium enrichment program which Washington fears is aimed at building a nuclear bomb.
Tehran insists it is for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.