Iran 'ready' to resume nuclear talks


IRAN SAID yesterday it was ready to resume negotiations over its nuclear programme and a broad range of other issues with a six-nation group of major powers.

The brief announcement reported on state-run Iranian television appeared to have been timed to precede a meeting today in Germany to discuss further sanctions against Iran for failing to comply with UN Security Council demands to suspend uranium enrichment.

Saeed Jalili, the country’s chief nuclear negotiator, said the Iranian government had completed a package of proposals for dialogue “regarding all security, political and economic issues, in addition to the nuclear issue”. But the EU’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, who leads the six-nation group’s negotiations with Tehran, had not been informed of the package by yesterday afternoon.

Reacting to the news, one European diplomat said: “We are cautious, careful, but ever hopeful.”

Iran had put forward proposals previously – in July last year – but they said nothing about suspension of enrichment. Tehran had since insisted enrichment was nonnegotiable.

Today’s meeting brings together diplomats from the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China to assess joint policy towards Iran. The American and west European delegates are expected to use the meeting to sound out Russian and Chinese attitudes towards a new wave of sanctions if Tehran refuses to compromise over uranium enrichment before the UN general assembly begins on September 23rd.

Western diplomats speculated that the Iranian announcement was intended to blunt the drive towards more sanctions and soften Iran’s image ahead of the assembly. – (Guardian service)