Iran Nuclear Talks: Positive?

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Common Dreams

Iran Nuclear Talks: Positive?

Multilateral talks with Iran are labeled 'constructive', but much is still unknown

by
Common Dreams staff

Iran's top national security official Saeed Jalili (R) EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton in Istanbul before Iran and six world powers open talks on Tehran's disputed nuclear programme. A new Iranian willingness to discuss its nuclear program in crunch talks with world powers on Saturday raises the chances of a second round of more in-depth negotiations soon, diplomats said. (AFP Photo/Tolga Adanali)

Iranian nuclear capabilities negotiations began on Saturday in Istanbul between Iran's representatives and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (America, Britain, France, Russia and China) and also Germany, or P5 plus 1.

As the talks began today, officials reported a significant 'optimism' and 'positive' atmosphere.

However, little has been released as to the content of the talks as well as the future implications.

Many diplomats were hoping that Iran would offer a moratorium on production of both low-enriched uranium — at 3.5 percent strength — and of uranium enriched to 20 percent, but the incentives the major powers were planning to offer remain undisclosed.

"Whether a second round of talks would succeed remains to be seen, however, with Iran likely to insist on the right to a peaceful nuclear program while demanding sanctions be eased," reports Reuters.

No solid agreements have been made as the US previously stated it would demand the immediate closing and ultimate dismantling of a recently completed nuclear facility.

Iran, has consistently maintained that its nuclear program is a peaceful attempt to generate electricity and medical isotopes for cancer patients.

Reports have surfaced that the US requested a one-on-one, or bilateral, discussion with Iran. The request was turned down, but the multilateral talks continued.

As Tom Engelhardt stated this week, "There are small signs of possible future compromise on both sides when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program (and a semi-public demand from Washington that could be an instant deal-breaker).  Looking at the big picture, though, there’s a remarkable amount we simply don’t know about Washington’s highly militarized policy toward Iran."

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Agence France-Presse: Iran spurns US request for bilateral nuclear talks: source

Iran's delegation to crunch talks with world powers on its nuclear programme Saturday turned down a US request for what would have been a rare bilateral meeting on the sidelines, a source told AFP.

"Their request was presented numerous times but Iran has refused," said the source close to the Islamic republic's team at the talks with six world powers in Istanbul, which diplomats said were nonetheless going well.

Earlier diplomats at the talks had said that the US delegation led by Wendy Sherman, undersecretary for political affairs, had let Iran know she was ready for face-to-face discussions with her counterpart Saeed Jalili.

The message was passed to the Iranians by Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, on the sidelines of the discussions between Iran and the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, envoys said.

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McClatchy News: After 'constructive' talks on Iran nuclear program, hopes rise for diplomacy

Major world powers Saturday said their first meeting with Iran in over a year took place in a “constructive atmosphere,” boosting hopes for a new round of negotiations to tackle the long-running dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program, which Western countries fear could lead to production of an atomic bomb.

Iran’s delegation, headed by chief negotiator Saeed Jalili, met a delegation of the United States and five other countries, headed by Dame Catherine Ashton of Britain, for two-and-a-half hours Saturday morning, according to Michael Mann, Ashton’s spokesman. He said the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia were “satisfied” with the talks, particularly in contrast to the last meeting here in January 2011, “which didn’t go anywhere.”

“Last year, they weren’t constructive,” he told reporters. “The very fact (the Iranians are) engaging is progress over last year.”

Among the topics discussed at the morning meeting in Istanbul’s Congress center was the plan for a follow-up meeting in Baghdad, Iraq. Mann said a final decision will be reached in a second meeting with all parties late Saturday afternoon.

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Reuters: World powers seek to ease nuclear deadlock with Iran

Iran and six world powers began rare talks on Saturday to try to halt a downward diplomatic spiral over Tehran's nuclear program and ease fears of a new Middle East war.

The talks, in Istanbul, the first between Iran and the six powers in 15 months, are unlikely to yield any major breakthrough but Western diplomats hope to see readiness from Tehran to start to discuss issues of substance.

That, they say, would mark a big change in Iran's attitude from the last meeting when it refused even to talk about its nuclear program and could be enough for scheduling a second round of talks next month, possibly in Baghdad.

Such an outcome could, at least for the time being, dampen speculation that Israel might launch military strikes on Iranian atomic sites to prevent its enemy from obtaining nuclear arms.

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