Iran: Geneva nuclear talks 'positive' so far
Iran's Deputy Foreign minister Abbas Araqhchi (L) leaves the media center after the start of two days of closed-door nuclear talks on October 15, 2013 at the United Nations offices in Geneva. (AFP)
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Iran’s proposals for the future of the country’s nuclear program received a positive reaction from world powers at the opening of talks in Geneva, a minister said on Tuesday.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said it had a “good” response to its proposals regarding the standoff over its nuclear program and that the details would be discussed in the afternoon, Reuters reported.
The minister said the atmosphere of the discussions had been “positive” without giving details on the proposals, as he spoke to reporters after Iran made a PowerPoint presentation at the start of the talks, according to Reuters.
Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said there was a sense of “cautious optimism” ahead of the two-day meeting, according to Reuters.
The two days of closed-door negotiations with Iran and the so-called “P5+1 countries” - the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany, mark the first round of negotiations under new President Hassan Rouhani.
Officials said that for the first time the talks were to be conducted in English.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was to present Iran’s proposal, entitled “Closing an Unnecessary Crisis, and Opening a New Horizon”, containing three steps that could settle the long-running nuclear standoff “within a year,” Zarif said Monday, according to Agence France-Presse.
Zarif, said he hoped that the talks would at least sketch out a “roadmap” for further higher-level talks, adding that the initial step could be achieved “within a month, or two, or even less,” according to AFP.
But Israel has repeatedly warned negotiators over concessions for Rouhani and urged the world on Tuesday to avoid a partial deal with Iran which could see a relaxing of sanctions.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is chairing the talks, said she had “cautious optimism but a real sense of determination,” according to AFP.
After meeting Ashton in London on Sunday, Kerry said that the window for diplomacy with Iran was “cracking open.”
He also underlined on Sunday that Washington meant what it said when it insisted it would never allow room for a nuclear-armed Iran.
“I believe firmly that no deal is better than a bad deal,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.
Israel and the West believe Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at developing an atomic bomb, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes only.
Iran currently has 6,774 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, and a lesser quantity of medium-enriched uranium.
The P5+1 powers have called for a halt to Iran’s higher-grade uranium enrichment, to shut its underground Fordow enrichment plant and ship out some of its uranium stockpile, in return for relaxed sanctions on gold, precious metals and petrochemicals trade.
But Iran has already drawn its red lines for the talks, saying that it will not accept any demand to suspend uranium enrichment or ship out stockpiles of purified material.