Iran nuclear talks end without agreement
Updated: 2011-01-23 07:22
European Union (EU) Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton (L) chats with European Union political advisor Robert Cooper (R) during the second day of talks at the Ciragan Palace in Istanbul January 22, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
ISTANBUL - Six world powers wrapped up crucial nuclear talks with Iran but failed to reach any agreement on Iranian nuclear program here on Saturday.
Catherine Ashton, the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, said at a press conference that she was disappointed because Iran set preconditions.
"We came forward without any preconditions to find ways to cooperate," Ashton said, adding that it soon became clear that unless the so-called G5+1 group agreed to Iran's preconditions on the right to enrichment and sanctions, there would be no resolution.
Ashton said many compromises had been offered, from an updated uranium fuel swap agreement to a separate meeting with the Vienna Group. However, she added the international community demanded greater transparency on the matter and IAEA had not been able to certify the exclusive peaceful nature of Iran's program.
"We expected Iran to have a pragmatic attitude and respond positively," she said, "This is not the conclusion I had hoped for."
However, she said that doors and telephone lines remain open to Iran. But she said there is no plan for further talks in near future.
Ashton headed the G5+1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council including the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, plus Germany. Iran is represented by Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.
The new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program took place in Ciragan Palace, Istanbul between Friday and Saturday. Diplomats here ascribed the failure to the preconditions set by the Iranian side for the two-day close-door dialogue. The Iranian side, for the first time, agreed to talk about its nuclear program on the table, but it demanded the world powers to recognize Iran's right to develop nuclear program and lift the sanctions.
Shortly after the statement by the European diplomat, Jalili held another press conference at the media center and responded that the "preconditions" proposed by Iran were actually its non-negotiable rights.
"These are not preconditions, but rights," Jalili said, calling for a common judgment between the parties in order to benefit negotiations.
Although the talks ended in stalemate without even a plan for new talks, Jalili emphasized Iran's desire for peaceful nuclear energy, saying the country was ready for cooperation on this issue. He also expressed optimism in the nuclear fuel swap agreement among Iran, Turkey and Brazil.
An aide to Jalili said the talks would resume even if the timing and venue were still undecided, but Ashton said further talks depended on a more constructive approach from the Iranian side.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Hailong told Xinhua the Iranian nuclear issue was a complicated and sensitive topic and it was hard for all parties to seek a comprehensive solution through a few dialogues.
The Chinese diplomat said all parties should make further efforts to continue dialogue and negotiation while taking pragmatic and flexible attitude and continuing confidence building.
The West suspects Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons while Tehran says its atomic energy program is peaceful.
Turkey said Saturday that it was ready to contribute in any way to a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear talks.
Although no agreement was reached, "we are glad that both sides have left the door open for future negotiations," said Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal in a statement at a press conference after the talks.
"We have been defending that this issue should be resolved by diplomatic means only since the beginning," Unal said, adding "the Istanbul meeting is just a culmination of this attitude."
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