UPI: The six world powers gathering in Turkey for nuclear talks with Iran Friday differ over how best to curb Iran’s aims, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said. United Press International
ISTANBUL, Turkey, April 13 (UPI) — The six world powers gathering in Turkey for nuclear talks with Iran Friday differ over how best to curb Iran’s aims, Russia’s deputy foreign minister said.
“We really do not have a common view of what’s the real offer to be made to Iran to bring it to serious negotiations,” Sergey Ryabkov told The Washington Post.
The six countries — the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — all want to avoid what he called a “disastrous” military strike on Iran by Israel, which says a nuclear Iran could pose an “existential threat” to the Jewish state, he said — a threat with the potential to destroy, or drastically restrict, Israeli civilization.
“We are all for a diplomatic solution,” he said.
A senior U.S. official involved in high-level policy discussions on Iran played down the differences.
“All are in agreement on the core principles,” the official told the Post, describing talks leading up to Saturday’s negotiations as “transparent” and “among the most collegial that I have seen.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi wrote in a Post op-ed piece Thursday the talks in the Turkish capital could best succeed if all sides approached them as equals “based on mutual respect and justice.”
A sign of mutual respect, he wrote, “is a willingness and readiness to both give and take, without preconditions.”
“Most important, and this cannot be stressed enough, is that dialogue must be seen as a process rather than an event,” he wrote. “A house can burn to the ground in minutes but takes a long time to build. Similarly, trust can easily and rapidly be broken, but it takes a long time to build.”
Salehi’s call for no preconditions differs from the last round of talks, in January 2011, when Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili demanded preconditions for serious talks that were unacceptable to the six powers, The New York Times reported.
The current round of talks was to begin Friday with an informal dinner gathering of the six powers — the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plug Germany — followed by formal negotiations with the Iranian delegation Saturday.
U.S. and European officials maintain Iran’s nuclear program is working toward building nuclear weapons. Tehran insists the program is for peaceful civilian uses only.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which seeks to promote nuclear energy’s peaceful use and to stop the use for nuclear weapons, says Iran has produced a great quantity of enriched uranium, some of it at 20 percent purity, just a few technical steps from bomb grade.
The agency, independent of the United Nations but reporting to the General Assembly and Security Council, also says Iran has placed many centrifuges deep inside a protected mountain near the tiny village of Fordo, population 732, some 20 miles north of Qom.
Iran also faces increased sanctions that the West says are causing severe economic distress but that Iran says it can easily weather.
Washington has made clear the 20-percent-enriched uranium and the protected Fordo site are matters of concern. Iran has hinted it may be willing to suspend enrichment to 20 percent, at least temporarily, in return for concessions, the Times said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Washington Thursday Iran indicated it intended to bring up new ideas, and said the Obama administration was prepared to consider reciprocal steps.
But she said Tehran must “demonstrate clearly in the actions they propose that they have truly abandoned any nuclear weapons ambition.”