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Iran Says Nuclear Talks Reached 'Turning Point'

Agnus Dei Farrant |
February 27, 2013 | 1:32 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

Satellite image of suspected Fordo nuclear facility (Creative Commons).
Satellite image of suspected Fordo nuclear facility (Creative Commons).

Two days of negotiations between Iran and five members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany ended Wednesday with optimism from both sides, though Western officials called for concrete steps to ease concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. 

The United States, China, France, Russia, Britain and Germany met with Iran’s negotiator, Saeed Jalili, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. 

"In this round of talks we have witnessed that, despite all the attitudes during the last eight months, they tried to get closer to our viewpoints," Jalili said.

The Telegraph reported that Jalili praised the "positive" approach of his interlocutors, saying, "We believe this is a turning point."

The six world powers offered to ease restrictions on its exports of petrochemical products and additional items in exchange for Iran’s ceasing its output of 20 percent enriched uranium which is close to weapons grade, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Bloomberg

Two other demands the six world powers had asked for before easing sanctions were that Iran would ship its stockpile of the enriched uranium out of the country and would shut down the Fordo nuclear plant that was secretly built and revealed only in 2009, The Telegraph reported. Those demands were dropped Tuesday. 

From The Telegraph:

Instead, a Western diplomat said that Iran was asked to "reduce the readiness" of [Fordo]. This would mean "standing down" some of the cascades of centrifuges. Iran would also be able to keep enough 20 per cent uranium to fuel a civilian research reactor in Tehran.

Iran expert Dina Esfandiary of the International Institute for Strategic Studies told Reuters: "Everyone is saying Iran was more positive and portrayed the talks as a win...I reckon the reason for that is that they are saving face internally while buying time with the West until after the elections.” 

Iran’s presidential election will be held in June. 

From Reuters:

In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry commented that the talks had been "useful" and that a serious engagement by Iran could lead to a comprehensive deal in a decade-old dispute that has threatened to trigger a new Middle East war.

"Iran knows what it needs to do, the president has made clear his determination to implement his policy that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon," Kerry said.

A senior U.S. official in Almaty told Reuters, "What we care about at the end is concrete results."

Technical talks will be held in Istanbul on March 18, Jalili told reporters. Political discussions with international negotiators will be held in Almaty, April 5-6. 


Read more of Neon Tommy’s coverage on Iran here.

Reach Executive Producer Agnus Dei Farrant here.



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