Iran-5+1 talks can yield agreement: Ahmadinejad

January 24, 2011 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that the future rounds of talks between Iran and the 5+1 group could yield a good agreement.

He made the remarks in the northwestern city of Rasht on Sunday, in reference to the meeting between Iran and the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) held in Istanbul on Friday and Saturday.
The Istanbul meeting was the second round of talks since the negotiations resumed last month in Geneva, breaking a 14-month hiatus.
“The talks focused on common ground for cooperation,” Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili, who represented Iran at the talks, told reporters at a press conference held on Saturday in Istanbul after the end of the talks.
Jalili also said that Iran is still ready to engage in more negotiations in the future, but the talks should be based on logic.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represented the major powers at the Geneva and Istanbul talks, told reporters on Saturday that there were no additional meetings planned at the present, but the door remains open for Iran.
“The process can go forward if Iran chooses to respond positively,” she said, adding, “We now wait to hear… whether Iran will respond on reflection.”
Elsewhere in her remarks, Ashton said the six major powers were “disappointed” with the stance taken by Iran during the talks, and its preconditions were unacceptable.
President Ahmadinejad stated, “If the negotiating side is committed to justice, a good agreement will be reached at the next meetings.”
“The 5+1 group called for talks with us and we accepted on condition that the negotiations are based on justice and the rights of Iran and other nations are acknowledged,” he said.
Ahmadinejad added that both sides expressed their viewpoints at the two most recent meetings, and now the situation is ripe for reaching an agreement.
He also advised the major powers that they should free themselves of the pressure being imposed on them by “narrow-minded” Zionists if they want the negotiations to bear fruit.
--------- Ashton’s remarks a result of a diplomatic mistake
MP Kazem Jalali said on Sunday that Ashton’s remarks, in which she said that the major powers were disappointed with Iran’s preconditions, were the result of a “diplomatic mistake”.
Ashton’s remarks were the result of a diplomatic mistake since Iran has always made it clear that it is always ready to negotiate, Jalili told reporters in Tehran.
“We supposed that the Westerners will make up for their past mistakes at the Istanbul talks, but unfortunately they repeated their previous mistakes and did not make up for them,” stated Jalili, who is the rapporteur of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.
He also said that the preconditions set by Iran were “logical” and “realistic”, adding that the Islamic Republic does not approve of the West’s double-standard policy.
“It seemed that the (Istanbul) talks could lead to an agreement within the framework of the Geneva agreement, but certain Western countries, and clearly U.S. officials, do not want the negotiations to reach a final result,” Jalili added.
------ Western officials comment on Istanbul talks
According to the Vancouver Sun, a U.S. diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Saturday, “The door is open… We continue to believe that there is time and space for diplomacy.”
“Clearly, the sanctions have had an impact. Clearly, according to public reports, there are signs that the Iranian nuclear program has slowed. So I think there is time and space for diplomacy,” he added.
------- British FM disappointed over Iran’s refusal to negotiate on nuclear issue
British Foreign Secretary William Hague stated on Saturday that Iran’s “refusal to engage” world powers over its nuclear program during the talks was “extremely disappointing”, AFP reported.
“Iran’s refusal to engage, including its insistence on preconditions that were clearly unrealistic, is extremely disappointing,” he said.
“We are committed to ensure a diplomatic resolution to our concerns and the door to future talks remains open,” Hague stated.
He added, “But Iran must demonstrate that it is serious about addressing international concerns about the nature of its nuclear program or face increasing international isolation. It should not doubt our resolve.”
------- Iran’s preconditions block everything: French FM
French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said on Saturday that Iran’s “unacceptable” preconditions blocked the talks, Focus News reported.
“Their conditions called for the lifting of sanctions and the right to enrich (uranium). This blocked everything,” Alliot-Marie, who is on a Middle East tour, told reporters in Amman.
“Because of lack of Iran’s cooperation, the International Atomic Energy Agency is still unable to certify that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively civilian and peaceful,” she added.
----- Iran’s nuclear issue can’t be resolved in one or two sessions
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Hailong said on Sunday, “The Iranian nuclear issue is complicated and sensitive, and obviously cannot be comprehensively resolved through one or two rounds of dialogue.”
“But still, each side needs to be dedicated to talks and negotiations in a flexible and pragmatic spirit, create mutual trust, and make efforts to solve the issue comprehensively and appropriately,” AFP quoted Wu as saying.
------- Germany still ready to talk with Iran
In a statement issued on Sunday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said, “Unfortunately Iran was not yet ready to take such substantial confidence-building steps with regard to its nuclear program,” Expatica Germany reported.
“We will now intensively consult with our partners to discuss the way forward. We are still prepared for talks. I hope that Iran is ready to take the outstretched hand of the international community,” he added