|Iran has no intention to halt 20% enrichment: Jalili||
TEHRAN - The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, has said that Tehran does not intend to stop producing uranium enriched to a purity level of 20 percent.
Jalili, who is Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, made the remarks during a press conference in Istanbul on Saturday after two rounds of talks between representatives of Iran and the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany), which ended a 15-month hiatus in talks.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton represented the 5+1 group in the nuclear negotiations and Jalili headed the Iranian delegation.
The two sides agreed to meet again in Baghdad on May 23, and Helga Schmid, the deputy secretary general for political affairs of the European External Action Service, and Ali Baqeri, the deputy secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, were tasked with drawing up an agenda for the Baghdad talks.
According to Reuters, Jalili made it clear at the press conference that Iran has no intention to halt operations at its plants that enrich uranium to contain 20 percent fissile material.
Referring to Iran’s rights, which have been stipulated in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Jalili said, “Enrichment of uranium is one of these rights that every individual member state should benefit from and enjoy for peaceful purposes.”
The main bone of contention between Tehran and the West is Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
Iran says all its nuclear activities are totally peaceful, and, as an International Atomic Energy Agency member and a signatory to the NPT, it has the legal right to produce nuclear fuel for its research reactors and nuclear power plants.
Commenting on the talks, Jalili stated, “We witnessed progress. There were differences of opinion… But the points we agreed on were important.”
Jalili also said, “The next talks should be based on confidence-building measures, which would build the confidence of Iranians.”
The continuation of the talks and their success depend on the adoption of the “approach of dialogue” rather than other approaches, he stated.
He also mentioned the fatwa (religious edict) that Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has issued declaring that the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are all haram (prohibited in Islam).
Jalili noted that the Leader’s fatwa has “created an opportunity for concrete steps toward disarmament and non-proliferation.”
Ashton says Istanbul talks were constructive, useful
Ashton also attended a press conference after the Istanbul talks, during which she stated, “The discussion on the Iranian nuclear issue has been constructive and useful.”
She also said, “We want now to move to a sustained process of serious dialogue, where we can take urgent, practical steps to build confidence.”
The negotiators will take a “step-by-step” approach, Ashton added, noting, “We will meet on May 23 in Baghdad.”
The Western participants had previously said that agreeing to meet for a second round of talks would constitute a successful day, according to Reuters.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov, who led the Russian delegation, told the Interfax news agency on Saturday, “The atmosphere is constructive, the conversation is businesslike. As of the moment, things are going well.”
In addition, EU foreign policy spokesman Michael Mann said on Saturday that the meeting between Iran and the major powers had been “positive” and “totally different” than the last meeting.
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