Talks between Iran and six world powers held Thursday in Geneva amid continued disagreement over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions. The United States, China, Russia, United Kingdom, France and Germany demanded that Iran freeze its nuclear program.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana led the one-day negotiation with Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. The gathering marked the first high-level meeting between Iran and the six countries since a failed meeting on July 2008. It is also the first time the United States has joined in negotiation—the US acted as an observer in 2008.
Following the talks, Solana said Iran has pledged to open its recently revealed uranium enrichment plant to U.N. inspectors perhaps in the next few weeks. He also confirmed Iran and six world powers will hold a new set of talks on international concerns about Tehran's nuclear program and other issues raised by the Islamic Republic.
Solona reportedly presented Iran a “freeze for freeze” compromise offering the end of UN sanctions in exchange for a halt to Iran’s nuclear program. Nevertheless, Iran has ruled out any discussions on the nuclear issue, saying it would be open to discuss disarmament, non-proliferation and other security concerns.
“Like our partners, we're committed to meaningful negotiations to resolve what are growing international concerns about Iran's nuclear program,” a US official told reporters on Wednesday. He added that the talks aim “to establish whether the Iranians are ready to engage on the nuclear issue.”
The six countries have long accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons, a charge denied by Tehran.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that the meeting was an "exceptional opportunity" for the Western powers to "rectify" their policies. He added that Iran prefers "friendship and interaction" in the talks, maintaining that Tehran was ready to hold long-term discussions with the P5+1 "should talks bear fruits."