France confirms 'substantial' new offer to Iran
PARIS - Agence France-Presse
A computer screen, showing the worldwide control stations is pictured at the control room of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) on February 12, 2013 at the CTBTO headquarter in Vienna. AFP Photo
France on Thursday confirmed that world powers will make a "substantial" new offer to Iran in a bid to resolve the dispute over its nuclear programme at talks next week in Kazakhstan.
"We will make a new offer that will contain significant new elements," the French foreign ministry's deputy spokesman, Vincent Floreani, said.
The next round of talks with Iran under the "P5+1" format -- UN Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany -- will be held on February 26 in Almaty after a long gap.
"We hope that Iran will attend this meeting with a constructive spirit and will be ready to discuss, in detail and with a renewed perspective, aspects of its nuclear programme that remain to be clarified," he said.
"We want a true exchange, leading to concrete results," Floreani said.
A Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters in London on Wednesday of the plan to make the "serious and substantial" new offer to Iran.
These latest talks follow three rounds of negotiations in 2012, the last in Moscow in June, at which world powers pressed Iran to scale back key areas of its nuclear programme.
Iran however walked away because the P5+1 stopped short of offering Tehran relief from UN Security Council and unilateral Western sanctions that are causing major economic problems for the country.