Iranian FM calls Istanbul meeting "turning point," asks P5+ 1 to lift sanctions before Baghdad talks

By Agencies Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-4-17 10:29:12

Calling the recent nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers in Istanbul as a "turning point, " Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi on Monday asked P5+1 to lift sanctions against Tehran before the next round of nuclear talks scheduled in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in May.

Talking to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Salehi said that "Istanbul meeting was a turning point" in the history of Iran's nuclear talks with positive results.

The new round of nuclear talks between Iran and the five UN Security Council permanent members -- the United States, France, Russia, China, and Britain -- plus Germany (P5+1) concluded in Istanbul Saturday, with both sides describing the talks as positive and agreeing to meet in Baghdad on May 23.

The two sides declared that the outcome of the talks was " satisfactory," said Salehi, adding that "Currently, the situation has changed and both sides are resolved to settle the issues."

"We have stressed that we are in favor of transparency and a win-win approach... and we are ready to remove their (powers') concerns," said Salehi, according to the report.

Salehi added that the West also needs to build confidence, and to do that P5+1 should lift sanctions before the Baghdad talks begins in May, according to ISNA.

"If the West wants to build confidence (in the process of resolving Iran's nuclear issue), it should start from (lifting) sanctions since this will speed up the process of coming to terms, " Salehi was quoted as saying.

"It is true that the process of lifting sanction may be long, but there is no reason to make it longer," he said.

"If there is a good will, this process can be crossed very easily and we are ready to settle all the issues very quickly and easily even in Baghdad meeting," Salehi added.

About the core issue of the nuclear talks, the Iranian foreign minister said if the Islamic republic is provided with high-grade enriched nuclear fuel, it will decide differently about enriching uranium to that grade, according to ISNA.

Producing 20-percent enriched nuclear fuel domestically to meet the needs of its reactors is Iran's "right," but Iran can make a different decision "if they (the world powers) guarantee to provide us with fuel at different enriched levels that we need," Salehi told ISNA.

In the next round of talks in Baghdad, how Iran can gain access to uranium enriched at different levels can be discussed, Salehi was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Salehi stressed that Iran, as a signatory to the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), is entitled to "enrich uranium at different levels as it needs."

The West has come to the conclusion that Iran will not surrender over its rights, he said.

US President Barack Obama said Sunday that the United States will continue its policy for a diplomatic resolution to Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Obama made the remarks at the conclusion of a Latin American summit in Colombia, as a response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Sunday remarks that P5+1 has given Iran a " freebie" by agreeing to hold another round of talks in Baghdad.

Obama said Iran will face more sanctions if the country does not take advantage of the newly-resumed talks.

Posted in: Mid-East

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