Russia calls for a new round of Iran nuke talks
MOSCOW / TEHRAN
‘If the United States shows goodwill and intentions, if they approach this way, then the way will be open,’ says Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani. REUTERS photoRussia Aug.6 said a new round of talks between Iran and world powers over its nuclear program should take place by mid-September, while Iran’s new president said he was “seriously determined” to resolve the dispute.
World powers hope that relatively moderate Rouhani, a cleric with links to all of Tehran’s often-feuding factions, can defuse tension over a nuclear program that they suspect is aimed at making bombs. Iran says its nuclear activities are purely for civilian purposes.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow shared the optimism.
“This round, given all the circumstances, must be held by mid-September. This cannot be delayed any longer,” Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency.
“As soon as the configuration of the new Iranian delegation is clear, the group of six can quickly make a proposal and organize for this round in the next 4-5 weeks,” he said. “There is a lot of reason for optimism.”
Rouhani’s choice for nuclear negotiator will help determine the tone and tactics of Iran’s diplomacy with world powers.
Rouhani has said that if the United States demonstrated goodwill towards Iran and an atmosphere of mutual respect was created, the way was open for talks to remove the concerns of both sides.
“What matters to us is the practical policy and strategy of the United States. If the United States shows goodwill and intentions ... and without any secret agenda, if they approach this way, then the way will be open,” he told his first news conference as president.
Meanwhile, a fresh round of intense diplomatic efforts was underway in Egypt to broker a peaceful end to the crisis sparked by the military’s overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
The European Union’s Middle East envoy Bernardino Leon and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns extended their stay in Cairo. Leon met Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi on Aug. 5 after talks the day before with Khairat al-Shater, in prison.