Iran hopeful of Baghdad talks

Iran hopeful of Baghdad talks

Iran hopeful of Baghdad talks

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. AFP Photo

Iran hopes May 23 talks with world powers in Baghdad over its disputed nuclear program will result in “success,” Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said yesterday, according to ISNA news agency.

Salehi said the April 14 talks in Istanbul between Tehran and the P5+1 (the permanent U.N. Security Council members of Britain, France, Russia, China and the United States plus Germany) marked the beginning of the closure of Iran’s nuclear case, Iran’s official Press TV reported.

“The Istanbul talks were a success and we hope that the Baghdad meeting also will be a success, and if we took one step forward in Istanbul surely, with God’s help, we will take several steps ahead in Baghdad,” Salehi said in a joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart. “We were at the beginning of the end regarding [Iran’s] nuclear issue in Istanbul, and we hope in a not-so-far future we will witness the closure of this manufactured dossier.”

Both Iran and the representatives of the P5+1 hailed the Istanbul talks as constructive and will now prepare for the next round of talks in the Iraqi capital on May 23.

Iran will enter the meeting with the aim of rolling back Western economic sanctions that were imposed to pressure it over its nuclear activities. Tehran denies Western allegations that the activities include efforts to develop a nuclear weapons capability. The P5+1 group, however, is seeking ways to verify that Iran’s program is exclusively peaceful.

Discussions are seen as likely to focus on whether Iran should be permitted to continue enriching uranium to 20 percent, several steps short of the 90 percent needed for military uses. The daily Los Angeles Times quoted U.S. officials as saying on April 27 that Washington could consider allowing Tehran to enrich uranium to 5 percent only – a compromise from a previous position ruling out any enrichment. The U.N. Security Council has imposed four rounds of its own sanctions on Iran because of suspicions about its nuclear program that were announced by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in November 2011 and reiterated in February.

Meanwhile, The IAEA confirmed April 28 that it would resume talks with Iran on the nuclear program in mid-May. IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor told Agence France-Presse in an email on April 28 that the talks could be held around May 14 and 15.

“The purpose is to continue the negotiations started early this year,” she said.