Iran resumes nuclear talks, but decries nuclear scientist's assassination
Iranian media emphasized Iran's tough opening gambit in Geneva, where it condemned the West for its silence over an Iranian nuclear scientist's assassination last week.
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The storyline is now familiar: Iran’s chief negotiator Saeed Jalili will have demanded that the West accept Iran’s uranium enrichment and its “right” to peaceful nuclear power, and stated that the "pressure" of sanctions was pointless.
And EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and other top diplomats will have demanded that Iran stop that enrichment – as required the United Nations Security Council – and prove it is not aiming for nuclear weapons.
News reports from Geneva suggested that nuclear issues consumed much of the agenda, despite Iran’s insistence that the subject – the one of most concern to the world powers – would remain off limits.
The Iranian delegation was said to be more open than expected to discussing its nuclear program with top diplomats. Ms. Ashton was representing the so-called P5+1 nations (the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany). US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns – who held brief bilateral talks with Mr. Jalili at the last round of talks in October 2009 – was also at the table, along with other senior P5+1 officials.
“The choices are clear for Iran: it can face growing isolation or cooperate,” an EU official who asked not to be named told Reuters.
Iran lambasts West over assassinated nuclear scientist
As part of its pre-talks posturing, the head of Iran's nuclear agency announced on Sunday that it had delivered its first shipment of homemade yellowcake – the raw material for enrichment, made from indigenous Iranian uranium. Iran claimed that it is now for the first time “self-sufficient” in the entire nuclear fuel cycle.
Iranian media emphasized Mr. Jalili’s tough opening gambit in Geneva, reporting that he used the first session to condemn the P5+1 for its silence over two bomb attacks in Tehran last week that killed nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari and wounded another, Fereydoun Abbasi. Mr. Abbasi topped the list of designated Iranians “involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities” in a 2007 UN Security Council resolution – a status that Iranian officials say made him a target.
“Such deplorable acts aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring new technologies indicate a medieval mindset,” Jalili said, according to state-run PressTV. He added that the “Iranian nation has been the biggest victim of terrorism.”
Jalili noted that anti-regime militants had killed hundreds of Iranians in the past: he said Israel’s Foreign Ministry had highlighted the attacks on their website; and he recalled that the head of British intelligence, Sir John Sawers, stated in late October that Iran’s nuclear program “cannot be addressed purely by conventional diplomacy.”