Signs of progress in nuclear talks, says Iran

Iran has exchanged messages with major powers on its nuclear energy programme and sees signs of progress, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Monday.

By (Reuters)

Published: Mon 18 Jan 2010, 7:14 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:40 AM

“There have been ongoing negotiations and messages are being exchanged so we have to just wait. There are some minor signs indicating a realistic approach, so any probable developments or progress can be discussed later,” Mottaki told a news conference in Tehran.

“We are prepared to help in order to facilitate such realistic approaches and this may bear fruit,” he said, in remarks aired on English-language Press TV.

Six powers met on Saturday to discuss prospects of imposing further sanctions against Iran over a nuclear programme they suspect the Islamic Republic will use to obtain nuclear weapons. Tehran says it is interested only in generating electricity.

The talks among diplomats from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China failed to reach an agreement, and afterwards participants said China made clear it opposed more punitive action at present.

Iran ignored U.S. President Barack Obama’s Dec. 31, 2009, deadline to respond to an offer from the six powers of economic and political incentives in exchange for halting its nuclear enrichment activities.

All the powers except China sent top-level foreign ministry officials to Saturday’s meeting. Beijing, which said earlier this month that it was not the right time for new sanctions, sent only a mid-ranking diplomat from its U.N. mission.

China’s effective snub dismayed the four Western powers in the group. They had hoped to reach agreement on whether to begin drafting a new U.N. Security Council resolution on a fourth round of sanctions against Iran.

Three previous rounds of U.N. sanctions have targeted Iran’s nuclear and missile industries, but Iran has shrugged them off and said it plans to pursue its right to enrich uranium, which can have both civilian and military uses.

The Western powers had originally hoped to impose sanctions on Iran’s energy sector but dropped the idea months ago when it became clear Russia and China would never accept this.

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