* Not clear if proposals will address uranium enrichment
* Ahmadinejad says Iran won't be bullied
* Diplomat sees no quick lifting of sanctions
By Marcus George
DUBAI, April 11 Iran will present new proposals
at talks on Saturday aimed at easing concerns about its nuclear
activity, state television said, but it was unclear if Tehran
was willing to address its disputed uranium enrichment drive as
six world powers want.
The report did not specify what Iran was set to offer and
one Western diplomat said he doubted it would be enough for any
quick lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which the
West suspects may be seeking nuclear weapons capability.
"Iran's representatives will participate in the negotiations
with new initiatives and we hope that the (six powers) will also
enter talks with constructive approaches," said the head of
Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili,
according to Iran's English-language Press TV on Wednesday.
Jalili, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, said Tehran was
"ready to hold progressive and successful talks on cooperation"
but that "the language of threat and pressure against the
Iranian nation has never yielded results".
Previous rounds of talks with the P5+1 group - the five U.N.
Security Council members, the United States, Britain, France,
Russia and China, plus Germany - foundered in part because of
Iran's refusal to negotiate on the scope of its uranium
enrichment work, instead floating vague proposals for trade and
Tehran says it is refining uranium solely for electricity
and medical treatments. Western states do not believe this and
the United States and Israel have not ruled out military action
if diplomacy fails to curb Iran's nuclear work.
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said
it was vital Iran come to the talks ready to engage seriously.
"We believe there is still time for diplomacy, but it is
urgent that the Iranians come to the table to establish an
environment conducive to achieving concrete results through a
sustained process," Clinton said as she began talks with the
foreign ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy,
Japan and Russia, collectively know as the Group of Eight (G8).
The Western diplomat said he did not expect Tehran to offer
anything big enough to justify the lifting of a European embargo
on Iranian oil that is due to be fully implemented by July 1.
"It would be a surprise if Iran did something that merited
moving on that," the diplomat said. "It would need a significant
change, I think, from Iran before that kind of alteration to the
sanctions regime becomes credible."
OUT OF THE CUPBOARD
On Sunday, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation,
Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, raised the possibility of Iran
suspending enrichment to the 20 percent level of fissile purity
if its needs were met.
The proposal did not address Western concerns about what
would ultimately happen to Iran's existing reserve of such
higher-grade enriched uranium.
Uranium needs to be refined only to up to 5 percent for use
in running power plants. A 90 percent threshold is required for
atomic bomb material.
Iran says it needs a 20 percent stockpile to fuel a medical
isotope reactor. Western powers fear Iran's underlying goal is
to advance towards bomb-grade purity and are seeking guarantees
via negotiations that this will not come to pass.
The Western diplomat said a previous deal with Iran that
would have seen it export some of its enriched uranium in
exchange for fuel for the medical reactor still made sense in
theory, but would have to be altered to reflect Iran's
increasing stockpile of nuclear material.
"On the fuel swap side it isn't really credible to think of
just sort of getting out of the cupboard the previous offer.
That said, the logic of Iran exporting some, all of, (its)
uranium enriched to various levels as one of its confidence
building steps, obviously, is a key thing still," he said.
If progress is made, the talks could pave the way to ease
sanctions and might lift the threat of an Israeli attack.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would not be bullied
at the talks.
"They constantly insult the Iranian nation and use a
language of force against Iranians," state news agency IRNA
quoted him as saying at a rally.
"Speaking on behalf of the Iranian nation, I tell them that
this method will not work ... and that they should speak with
Iran says it has a sovereign right to uranium enrichment and
accuses the nuclear-armed West of hypocrisy and of trying to
stifle its technological progress.
Separately, Iran said on Wednesday it had banned imports
from 100 European companies to counter Western sanctions.
Sassan Khodaei, deputy head of the state-run Trade Promotion
Organisation, said the move was part of a policy to counter
"antagonistic measures" by the EU, Press TV reported.
Khodaei said the banned goods included luxury items that
Iran can produce itself, but he did not name the goods or their
A report from Press TV on Tuesday said Iran had stopped oil
exports to Spain as a pre-emptive measure before the EU embargo
comes into force on July 1, but Spain's biggest refiner said it
had stopped buying from Iran months earlier.