In the latest round of maneuvers before next week’s nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 Powers, the European Union’s Catherine Ashton has expressed hope for a resolution, while the senior Iranian negotiator has warned that Tehran’s demands must be met.
Iran and the 5+1 (US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China) convene in New York on September 18, seeking a comprehensive agreement before the expiry of interim arrangements on November 24.
Ashton, the head of the 5+1 group, said on Monday:
My hope is that we will make progress….We believe, although we are far apart, there is the possibility of being able to narrow the gap.
But we are determined in so doing to do it fully aware that the world is watching and expecting that any agreement must be a good and positive one if it can be found.
Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi maintained a firm position, saying that Iran is continuing “talks seriously and with goodwill, but will not relinquish its rights”.
He added that “deep disagreements remain” between the two sides, singling out dispute over a timetable for the lifting of the “illegal sanctions” against Iran.
Araqchi criticized last week’s US ramping-up of the sanctions with the addition of more than 20 Iranian individuals, companies, and banks to its blacklist. He warned that, if Washington carried out another escalation, Iran would respond.
Iran and the 5+1 are at odds on the number and level of centrifuges for Tehran’s uranium enrichment. The Iranians are calling for a capacity of 190,000 Separative Work Units to provide for their civilian programs, about 20 times the amount that the US and its partners have been willing to accept.
Other issues include the status of complexes such as the Fordoo enrichment plant and the Arak heavy-water reactor and the arrangements for inspection and supervision of Iranian facilities.
Photo: Supreme Leader Recovering After Prostate Operation
The Supreme Leader’s office has released a photograph of Ayatollah Khamenei relaxing in hospital after Monday’s 30-minute prostate operation:
And there is video of Monday’s visits by figures such as Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani, Guardian Council leader Ahmad Jannati, and former Presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hashemi Rafsanjani: