Atul Aneja

Ready for talks with West

DUBAI: Iran has said that it has worked out “serious proposals” to defuse its standoff with key western countries on its nuclear issue.

Iran’s top negotiator Saeed Jalili said on Monday Iran was ready for talks with major powers so long as Iran’s position towards its nuclear programme was respected and its role as a regional player accepted. Despite three rounds of sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council and Germany, Iran has refused to halt its uranium enrichment programme. However, it has stated that all its nuclear activities are covered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“We prepared a proposal to be handed over and on those issues we think we can talk to influential powers which want to establish peace and stability in the world and respect the integrity of countries. We can sit down and talk to them,” said Mr. Jalili.

The Iranian official made these remarks after talks with visiting Russian National Security Council Acting Secretary Valentin Sobolev. The Iranians have apparently shared these proposals with the Russians.

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had said Iran would release proposals which would impart a “new orientation” to its policy. Talks with the visiting Russian delegation covered military cooperation as well as expansion of transit corridors for cross-border trade. This included the development of the North-South corridor, in which Russia, Iran and India are main partners. Energy issues also featured high on the agenda.

AP reported that Mr. Sobolev said, “Our talks are of a peaceful nature and are not directed against any third countries.”