|Iran does not expect bilateral talks with U.S.: diplomat||
TEHRAN – The Iranian ambassador to France, Ali Ahani, has said that Iran does not expect direct talks with the United States but sees the end of U.S. presidential elections as an opportunity to revive international negotiations.
In an interview with Dow Jones republished by IRNA on Wednesday, Ahani said, “In the current situation, mistrust is too strong and no one can see the possibility of bilateral talks” with the United States.
The remarks effectively quash press speculation that Washington and Tehran would start bilateral discussions on Iran’s nuclear program after the reelection of U.S. President Barack Obama.
The ambassador said Iran stood by its proposals for running a civil nuclear program. Iran has already said it could reduce its nuclear enrichment below 5 percent provided it has access to fuel rods for its research centers and the West lifts sanctions against it.
After being elected in 2009, Mr. Obama made the impression that he could “break the wall of mistrust built between both countries,” Mr. Ahani said. “But we practically faced a reinforcement of hostility” and sanctions, the diplomat said.
“Now that he has won the elections, we will have to wait and see whether he will have the courage to change the current situation or continue the same trend,” he added.
However, Mr. Ahani expressed cautious optimism that Obama’s reelection could give a new impetus to talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) over the country’s nuclear program.
After the talks were put on hold during the U.S. elections, “it is now possible for the 5+1 group to move forward as long as it recognizes the existing Iranian civil nuclear capabilities and to prepare a road map to reach a compromise,” he said.
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