Ahmadinejad: lift sanctions to boost Iran nuclear talks
The first round of talks on Iran's nuclear program in 14 months yielded defiance from Tehran, frustration from the P5+1 countries, and an agreement to meet again in Istanbul in January.
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President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that lifting the array of UN, American, EU and other sanctions against Iran would boost future talks, though no P5+1 diplomat has even hinted that would be possible.
“If you come to the negotiations by canceling all the nasty things and wrong decisions that you have adopted … lift resolutions, sanctions and some restrictions that you have created … then the talks will definitely be fruitful,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Arak, a city in central Iran.
Mr. Jalili made clear that Iran’s uranium enrichment would “absolutely not” be up for discussion in Istanbul. Four UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions have imposed sanctions and demanded that Iran stop the process – which is used to make reactor fuel, or if refined to much higher levels can be used in a weapon – until it proves its work is peaceful.
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Instead, in a press conference after the meeting, Jalili stuck to longstanding talking points about the need to reshape global politics.
Jalili questioned the scale of other nuclear arsenals and said it was “disgraceful” that the listing of nuclear scientists for sanctions by the UNSC had, he claimed, led to the assassination of one scientist and the wounding of another in two Tehran bomb attacks last week. Beside Jalili at the podium was a portrait of Majid Shahriari, the dead scientist, with a strip of black cloth in the upper left corner.
“We didn’t get anywhere on substance,” one official of the P5+1 told the Associated Press. “It was an exchange of views.”
The AP also quoted a senior American official, who said: “Our expectations for these talks were low, and they were never exceeded.” Reuters quoted a US official saying the talks were “difficult and candid,” and that Iran suspending enrichment was still P5+1 policy.
Neither side mentioned a nuclear fuel swap deal backed by the US and once offered in October 2009. It was finally brokered by Brazil and Turkey with Iran last May. It was dismissed as inadequate then by the P5+1, given Iran’s continued rate of enrichment.
Jalili warned that Western focus on “fabricated issues” – he did not explicitly mention the concerns about Iran’s nuclear program – should not be allowed to “divert” attention from “real concerns.”
The secretary-general of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council – without naming the Americans or EU – criticized the dual-track policy now favored by the Obama administration of holding talks while also raising pressure on Iran through sanctions and other means.
Such talks under pressure “were not talks anymore,” Jalili said. “Dictators dictate, and talks befit civilized people.” Continued use of such a dual-track policy meant talks were “doomed to fail.” Likewise, Jalili added, “when some sides resort to assassination and terrorism, this tells me their logic is weak and lacking.”