Talks between experts from Iran and the six world powers on the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear program ended without significant progress in the Turkish city of Istanbul early Wednesday, with the participants agreeing to hold further meetings on the issue as agreed earlier, according to the European Union.
The European Union said in a statement that the Istanbul talks extended through Tuesday to early Wednesday. The P5+1 delegation was led by nuclear expert Stephan Klement on behalf of EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton. The talks also involved experts from the P5+1 nations and Iran.
According to the statement, the P5+1 team provided their Iranian counterparts with details of the proposal put forward by the six world powers during an earlier round of negotiations in Baghdad. Iran on its part shared further detail of its own proposal for resolving the issue.
The experts then "explored positions on a number of technical subjects." The EU statement added that the technical meeting in Istanbul will be followed by a meeting between EU's Helga Schmid and Iran's Dr. Ali Bagheri, but did not reveal when and where that meeting will be held.
Three earlier round of negotiations held under the mediation of EU's Ashton this year between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations, comprising the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, had failed to progress in resolving the issue. This year's first round of negotiations were held in Istanbul in April, followed by talks in Baghdad in May and in Moscow in June.
During the negotiations held in Istanbul in April, the participants had agreed to tackle the issue through step-by-step negotiations and by responding to the progress made by initiating reciprocity actions. Further, it was agreed in Moscow that expert-level meetings on the issue would be held in Istanbul on July 3, followed by by contact at the deputy-level between diplomats from Tehran and Brussels.
The P5+1 group wants Iran to halt enriching uranium to 20 percent level-- which can be used for making nuclear weapons, shut down the Fordow nuclear facility, ship out stockpiled 20 percent enriched nuclear materials and allow UN nuclear inspectors to verify the so-claimed peaceful intentions of Iran's disputed nuclear activity. In return, they have offered to supply medical isotopes and provide co-operation on nuclear safety. Nevertheless, Iran has presented its own five-point package of proposals on "nuclear and non-nuclear issues."
Although Iran insists its nuclear activity is intended for peaceful civilian purposes, the West suspects the claim to be a cover up for the country's nuclear weapon ambitions. Nevertheless, Tehran argues that it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes being a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Iran is currently reeling under sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council over Teheran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment. Analysts believe that Russia and China, both Iranian allies, are unlikely to support further U.N. sanctions against Tehran over the issue.
However, the United States and its allies, including the European Union, have imposed separate sanctions on Iran, targeting its oil and banking sectors, after a report released by the IAEA in November cautioned that Tehran may be planning to develop nuclear weapons.
Incidentally, an EU oil embargo on Iran took effect on July 1, while a new US sanction targeting financial institutions that engage in transactions with Iran's central bank and oil sector came into effect on June 28.
Iran's participation in the talks are mainly for convincing the P5+1 nations to lift their individual as well as U.N. sanctions currently imposed on Tehran. Experts say the Western sanctions are beginning to take an adverse effect on Iran's oil-based economy.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com