May 20, 2013
Iran to offer new proposals at nuclear talks
Iran will present new proposals at talks on Saturday aimed at easing concerns about its nuclear activity, state television said, but it was unclear if Tehran was willing to address its disputed uranium enrichment drive as six world powers want.
The report did not specify what Iran was set to offer and one Western diplomat said he doubted it would be enough for any quick lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which the West suspects may be seeking nuclear weapons capability.
"Iran's representatives will participate in the negotiations with new initiatives and we hope that the (six powers) will also enter talks with constructive approaches," said the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, according to Iran's English-language Press TV on Wednesday.
Jalili, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, said Tehran was "ready to hold progressive and successful talks on cooperation" but that "the language of threat and pressure against the Iranian nation has never yielded results."
Previous rounds of talks with the P5+1 group - the five UN Security Council members, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, plus Germany - foundered in part because of Iran's refusal to negotiate on the scope of its uranium enrichment work, instead floating vague proposals for trade and security cooperation.
Tehran says it is refining uranium solely for electricity and medical treatments. Western states do not believe this and the United States and Israel have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to curb Iran's nuclear work.
In Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it was vital Iran come to the talks ready to engage seriously.
"We believe there is still time for diplomacy, but it is urgent that the Iranians come to the table to establish an environment conducive to achieving concrete results through a sustained process," Clinton said as she began talks with the foreign ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia, collectively know as the Group of Eight (G8).
The Western diplomat said he did not expect Tehran to offer anything big enough to justify the lifting of a European embargo on Iranian oil that is due to be fully implemented by July 1.
"It would be a surprise if Iran did something that merited moving on that," the diplomat said. "It would need a significant change, I think, from Iran before that kind of alteration to the sanctions regime becomes credible."