Iran's chief nuclear negotiator said Iran wouldn't compromise on its right to enrich uranium, casting doubts on whether the country could reach a deal during talks with international powers in Moscow this month.
Saeed Jalili, the negotiator, updated lawmakers in Iran's parliament Wednesday over the status of the country's nuclear talks in a speech that was aired live on radio and published by official media
Mr. Jalili's narrative of several rounds of nuclear talks dating back to last year suggested a hardening of Iran's position. For example, the diplomat, who represents the views of Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, categorically dismissed a suspension of uranium enrichment, a central demand of the international community.
The diplomat said Iran had recently threatened to pull out of the Moscow talks if they would only focus on the nuclear issue and didn't address Iran's other concerns such as human rights in Bahrain and pirates in the Persian Gulf. He said Iran only changed its mind after Catherine Ashton, the European Union's Foreign Secretary, personally called Mr. Jalili on Monday to reassure him Iran's concerns were on the table.
He also suggested the West was conducting a colonial war against Iran to keep it from scientific advancement. "The Islamic Republic's nuclear program and nuclear energy is based on our legitimate rights and it's a symbol of our resistance and progress," Mr. Jalili told the parliament.
He added that the West's opposition to Iran's nuclear program stemmed from "fear that the Islamic Republic could serve as a role model for progress and defiance in other countries."
Iran is scheduled to resume talks with the five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany in Moscow on Monday and Tuesday. The meeting will mark the third round of negotiations this year after two others in Istanbul in April and Baghdad in May.
Amid high expectations, those talks were ultimately regarded as unproductive and both Iran and the international community only agreed to keep negotiating.
The talks come ahead of plans by the EU to impose a full embargo on Iranian oil on July 1 and amid suggestions by Israel that it could conduct a military strike against Iran's nuclear program if diplomacy fails.
Meanwhile, Japan, looking to secure a steady energy supply, is pressing the EU to loosen its pending sanctions that would prohibit European firms from insuring Japan's imports of Iranian oil, said people familiar with the effort. After reductions of purchases, Japan still gets about 3% of its crude from Iran, and 90% of such tanker voyages are reinsured by companies based in the EU. Those insurance contracts come to a halt on July 1, when EU sanctions go into effect.
The E.U.'s views on the state of talks with Iran appear to be divided for the first time. Some E.U. diplomats say the upcoming talks risked collapse, while others said talks would likely continue for some time.
"It's not about a breakthrough or no breakthrough, it's about the level of serious engagement which will lead eventually to a breakthrough," said a senior diplomat. "We are very much determined to pursue this process as long as there is momentum to pursue it and as long as there is commitment [from Iran] to pursue the nuclear issue in substance."
Russian's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov traveled to Tehran on Wednesday to discuss the coming talks as well as other regional issues like Syria. He didn't give details of his meetings but said the "Iranian side is interested in coming up with solutions" to settle the standoff.
Russia and China are seen as the most sympathetic countries toward Iran among the Security Council members.
The six-nation negotiating group says it is concerned that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and has demanded that Iran suspend its current practice of enriching uranium to 20% purity. Nuclear weapons require an approximate 90% enrichment level, but nuclear experts say the most extensive technical work is required in the earlier stages—moving to 20% purity from 3.5% levels.
Iran insists that the intention of its nuclear program is for obtaining peaceful energy and medical advancements. Iran had indicated that it might consider reducing enriched uranium to below 5% if the international community would ease the economic sanctions that are crippling its economy.
But Western countries say they won't lift sanctions now and worry that Iran might be stalling talks to buy time for its nuclear program.
The Czech Republic is worried about Iran's bid to acquire nuclear weapons, and hopes that the new EU sanctions will affect it. We also believe that Iran should be on the 'list' of countries prevented from joining the proposed WFTZ.
The MHoC continues to urge Iran to cease from developing nuclear weapons. This latest development will only lead to Iran's increased isolation. We also back the response of our Czech friends with regards to the WFTZ.
Australia reserves judgement on the matter, having the ability to make atomic weapons and actively making them are two very different things with the latter not being proved, we do however look upon Tehrans stance as beligerant, counter productive and ultimately self destructive and urge her to seek mediation immediatly.
Ukraine urges Iran to take this opportunity to reaffirm confidence in the international community. Ukraine respects Iran's right to nuclear energy, and supports any proposals allowing for the fact whilst restricting weapons development.
Lebanon stands behind Iran in its opportunity to develop alternative energy. There is no proof that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and Lebanon believes that every state has the right to develop nuclear energy even if the West does not agree with their values.
Tunisia believes that Iran has as much right to Nuclear Weapons as the western nations that sit here criticising her. However, we would urge Iran not to develop these weapons, and if they are telling the truth with regards to nuclear power then TUnisia pleads with them to provide some proof of this to stop the situation from escalating any more.
Although Kyrgyzstan enjoys it's bilateral relationship with Iran, we would urge them to compromise their plans to utilize uranium reserves into an energy resource without substantial support from the UN and other trading partners.
We would not like to see another trading partner pplaced under sanction because of something that can be obtained with negotiation and international support. We would also urge the USA to act in a manner which means a compromise can be met, so that our Iranian neighbours do not feel compelled to go outside of international law.
Last edited by AspiringGenius; 17-06-2012 at 18:35.
Serbia believes that Iran be allowed to develop alternative energy but believes that the situation should be monitored and if nuclear weapons are found to be being developed further sanctions should be imposed