Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- plus Germany (P5+1) began a new round of talks on Tehran's disputed nuclear program in the Russian capital Moscow on Monday.
The Iranian delegation is led by its chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, while the P5+1 group is headed by EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton.
Iran's five-point proposal and a package offered by the P5+1 would top the agenda of the two-day talks, being held as a follow up on the previous talks held in Iraq and Turkey.
Jalili earlier urged the West to respect Tehran's nuclear rights in order to succeed the Moscow talks. He also expressed Iran's readiness to cooperate and enter talks with "different countries on a variety of issues, including collaborations in the field of nuclear energy," Iran's state-run Press TV reported.
Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi said on Sunday that Iran would not step back from its nuclear rights.
The two sides remain far apart in their positions. The West is demanding that Iran halt its 20-percent uranium enrichment program, which they say can lead to nuclear arms development. But Iran insists that it has the right to the peaceful use of nuclear power.
If the talks fail, the United States and the European Union plan to impose a further series of sanctions targeting Iranian oil exports sometime toward the end of June and early July.
The United Nations has by now imposed several rounds of sanctions against Tehran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or materials for bombs.
The EU, the United States and some other countries have also imposed oil embargo as part of their sanctions to pressure Tehran into resuming talks on the country's nuclear program. They have also imposed tough banking sanctions aiming at limiting Iran's ability to sell oil, which accounts for 80 percent of its foreign revenues.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com