WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran hopes all sides in upcoming talks on its nuclear program will commit to comprehensive dialogue and that negotiators make “genuine efforts to reestablish confidence and trust,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Thursday.
In an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Salehi said that to “solve the nuclear issue,” the scope of talks this weekend in Istanbul between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany must address the concerns of all sides.
“Complex matters that have been left unaddressed for decades cannot be solved overnight,” Salehi said. “Another sign of mutual respect is a willingness and readiness to both give and take, without preconditions.”
Salehi said dialogue “must be seen as a process” and not an event.
“If the intention of dialogue is merely to prevent cold conflict from turning hot, rather than to resolve differences, suspicion will linger. Trust will not be established,” Salehi said.
The P5+1 group - Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany - will meet with Iran for the first time in more than a year, hoping Tehran will give enough ground on its nuclear program to extend negotiations and avert the possibility of an Israeli or U.S. military strike on Iran.
Salehi said Iran had many times “marked our opposition to weapons of mass destruction.”
Tehran says it is refining uranium solely for electricity and medical treatments. Western states do not believe that.
Major powers want the Iranians to outline steps to show that they have abandoned any pursuit of nuclear arms, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.
“We are receiving signals that they are bringing ideas to the table,” Clinton told reporters. “We want them to demonstrate, clearly, in the actions they propose that they have truly abandoned any nuclear weapons ambition.
“We are looking for concrete results. And of course, in a negotiation, we understand that the Iranians will be asking for assurances or actions from us and we will certainly take those under consideration,” Clinton said, without providing details.
Reporting By John Crawley and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Peter Cooney