Big powers want fast results in revived diplomacy with Iran

VIENNA Tue Mar 5, 2013 12:57pm EST

Top officials from the U.S., France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and Iran take part in talks on Iran's nuclear programme in Almaty February 27, 2013. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

Top officials from the U.S., France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and Iran take part in talks on Iran's nuclear programme in Almaty February 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov

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VIENNA (Reuters) - Six world powers called on Tuesday for quick and concrete results in nuclear negotiations with Iran that have resumed after an eight-month hiatus, aimed at averting the threat of a new Middle East war.

In a joint statement, the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain described last week's talks with Iran in the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan, as "useful" and said diplomacy would be pursued actively in the coming months.

They said they were "deeply concerned that Iran continues to undertake certain nuclear activities" contrary to U.N. Security Council resolutions, including recent steps to install more advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges.

The two sides are due to meet again in early April at the same venue for another round of political discussions to try and end years of stalemate in the dispute, following expert level talks to be held in Istanbul later this month.

"We seek tangible results in this diplomatic process at an early stage," said the statement delivered at a meeting of the 35-nation governing board of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Vienna.

"We reaffirm our continuing support for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue," it said. It was read out by British Ambassador Susan le Jeune d'Allegeershecque.

The powers urged Tehran to immediately take "substantive steps" to address IAEA concerns about "possible military dimensions" to the country's nuclear program. Iran has stonewalled the U.N. inquiry for more than four years.

The relatively mild language used in the one-page statement reflected an apparent compromise between the four Western states on the one hand and Russia and China on the other.

Moscow and Beijing have in the past criticized unilateral Western sanctions on Tehran, and have tended to be less harsh in their public statements. Western diplomats said the priority now was to demonstrate big power unity on the Iran nuclear issue.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Monday that President Barack Obama was not bluffing about using force to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions if all else fails, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a "credible military threat" against Tehran.

ISRAELI IMPATIENCE

Iran denies Western and Israeli allegations that it is covertly seeking the capability to make nuclear weapons, saying its nuclear program is an entirely peaceful project to generate electricity.

But its refusal to curb atomic activity that can have both military and civilian purposes, and its lack of full openness with U.N. inspectors, have prompted increasingly tough U.S. and European punitive measures against the major oil producer.

Israel, Iran's arch-enemy, which is convinced that it is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, is tiring of the protracted, inconclusive talks and has threatened pre-emptive war against Tehran if it deems that diplomacy has failed.

Iran was upbeat last week after talks with the powers in Kazakhstan about its nuclear work ended with an agreement to meet again. But Western officials said it had yet to take concrete steps to ease their fears about its atomic ambitions.

In Almaty, the six powers offered modest relief from economic sanctions in return for Iran scaling back its most sensitive nuclear activity, but made clear that they expected no immediate breakthrough.

The powers' statement in Vienna said they "take note of the useful meetings" in the Kazakh city "to carry on a constructive diplomatic process, which will be pursued actively in the months ahead on the basis of reciprocity and step-by-step approach".

The aim would be to restore "international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program".

Separately, diplomats said Sweden was trying to weaken the tone of a separate statement on Iran by the 27-nation European Union, delaying agreement on this text.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (18)
Logical123 wrote:
Who cares about Israel which is irrelevant as far as Iran is concerned.

If the six wold “powers” want early results, let them drop their ridiculous demands and remove all sanction on Iran. Also, as a start, they must recognize Iran’s nuclear rights as a signatory of the NPT. Otherwise, there is no deal. They can jump up and down as much as they want. Nobody in Iran is going to give to pressure.

Mar 05, 2013 10:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
Dhirajkunar wrote:
This clearly indicates “the west” is impatiently / desperately wanting a peaceful solution to their self concocted “Iran crisis”. Else they loose face and would set an example to other countries also not to toe “the will of the west”.

I am not sure if Reuters is giving its personal opinion that if Iran does not follow “the west’s” diktat, there will be a war. Because other than Israel’s N’yahu, no other world leader has threatened Iran of an attack.

And if they really mean it, then let their be a war. Let this be a decisive one. “The west” should know very well history. How Persia contributed to the disintegration of the Roman empire. First due to the Parthians and then the Sassanids. There seems to be a very strong parallel between history and now. The difference between then and now is that today’s countries is intricately connected to one another. Europe is almost entirely dependent on Russia for natural gas, Most of the world’s countries are dependent on the ME for oil, America is almost fully dependent on many countries for several imports. Hence any such “Iran attack” seems to be a big bluff. An attack on Iran will certainly lead to a world war.

Mar 05, 2013 10:45am EST  --  Report as abuse
reality-again wrote:
President Theodore Roosevelt used to say: “Speak softly, and carry a big stick; You will go far.”
Talking to the liars in Tehran is a waste of time.
Let’s try the big stick, for a change.

Mar 05, 2013 11:40am EST  --  Report as abuse
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