Almaty talks start high on hope

Iran: Will not accept more obligations and less rights

February 26, 2013 11:00 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 10:22 pm IST - DUBAI:

After completing one round of nuclear talks, Iran and the six global powers have decided to meet again on Wednesday, in the hope of starting a process that would build on a show of greater transparency by Iran in return for a phased lifting of sanctions.

Delegates from Iran and the six global powers — United States, Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany (P5+1) — met for three hours on Tuesday in Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan.

The state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that “there is no news about [the] outcome of step-by-step strategy inching toward a breakthrough” during the first round of talks. The report was referring to a proposal by Russia that Iran has endorsed, which recommends that every confidence building measure taken by Iran that demonstrates the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme should be met by an incremental lifting of sanctions.

Iran has been subjected to harsh international and unilateral sanctions by the U.S. and its allies on suspicions that it may be running covert nuclear weapons programme — allegations that Tehran has vehemently denied and a stream of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are unable to confirm.

Comprehensive package

Without going into details, Iran’s English language Press TV reported that the Iranian delegation has prepared a new “comprehensive package” for ending the crisis. “The Iranian negotiators said the comprehensive package could change based on the proposals the 5+1 group is going to make.”

Revealing little in terms of concrete ideas, Iran’s interlocutors also did not say anything beyond the expertly crafted sound bite that they were ready with a new offer.

“The offer addresses the international concern on the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, but it is also responsive to Iranian ideas,”' said European Union (EU) spokesman Michael Mann. “We’ve put some proposals forward which will hopefully allow Iran to show some flexibility.”

Ahead of the talks, the leader of the Iranian delegation Saeed Jalili said that the world powers should provide “constructive, logical and reliable answers to Iran’s comprehensive proposals presented during the Moscow meeting”.

Mr. Jalili was referring the June 2012 meeting in the Russian capital, where Tehran spelled out a five point proposal to end suspicions about the military content of its nuclear programme.

Iran’s top negotiator also stressed that Tehran’s would never forego its “nuclear rights” — words that are meant to convey Iran’s ingrained refusal to give up uranium enrichment, which the western powers emphatically demand.

“We should enjoy all our rights and we do not accept more obligations and less rights”, asserted Mr. Jalili.

The website reported that in Moscow, Iran had asked the six global powers to publicly recognise Tehran’s right to uranium enrichment in return for a solemn commitment by Iran that it would “never pursue any kind of military nuclear projects as per the religious edict [fatwa] issued by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei”.

On Parchin

Iran had also proposed that the IAEA be allowed to clear all doubts about the Possible Military Dimension (PMD) of Iran’s atomic programme, which included access to the Parchin military complex. In return all “unilateral sanctions” imposed against Iran should be lifted in a phased manner.

Finally, Iran would be ready to halt 20 per cent uranium enrichment in return for the abrogation of all sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.

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