Expectations low for Iran nuclear talks

2012-04-14 08:00

Istanbul - Expectations are low for major progress in Iran's first talks in 15 months with world powers in Istanbul on Saturday aimed at easing tensions over Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons drive.

According to officials close to the negotiations between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany (the P5+1), the most that can be hoped for is an agreement to hold more detailed discussions in a few weeks.

"Iran's most recent response specifically said that they are prepared to sit down and talk about the nuclear issue. For us (Saturday) is about testing that," one envoy said ahead of the talks between top diplomats.

"We don't expect to get a lot of detail ... but it will be about possibly meeting again in four to six weeks time if we can, when we will get into that detail," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

The main concern of the international community is Iran's growing capacity to enrich uranium, which can be used in power generation and other peaceful uses but, when purified further, for a nuclear weapon.

Of particular worry is the formerly secret Fordo site in a mountain bunker near the holy city of Qom, currently enriching to 20% purity but which experts say could be reconfigured to produce 90% weapons grade material.

The growth of Fordo, plus a game-changing UN atomic agency report last November on alleged "weaponisation" efforts, have led to tighter EU and US sanctions on Iran's oil sector due to bite this summer and talk of Israeli military strikes.

Highlighting the deep mistrust and the major differences to overcome, a source close to the Iranian delegation led by Saeed Jalili said on Friday that Western comments ahead of the Istanbul talks did not "give us much hope."

"So far the Iranian delegation finds the Western position ... disappointing and discouraging," the source, wishing to remain anonymous, told AFP.

Following earlier false starts, Western governments - and in particular US President Barack Obama as he seeks re-election this November - are wary of finding themselves accused of being duped by empty Iranian promises.

As a result they have stressed the need for the Iranian "seriousness", with Group of Eight (G8) foreign ministers this week highlighting Tehran's "persistent failure to comply with its obligations."

"If Iran turns up for the meeting in the same spirit of 'Istanbul I', we're not going to get very far," one P5+1 source told AFP, referring to the last stab at talks in this Turkish city in January 2011.

US media reports meanwhile have suggested that the P5+1 want Iran to halt enrichment of uranium to purities of 20%, shutter Fordo and send Tehran's stockpiles of enriched uranium abroad.

The world powers also want Iran to grant the International Atomic Energy Agency greater access to ease fears that it might have covert facilities, and to answer accusations made in the IAEA's November report.

But comments from Iran, most notably from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, underline that Tehran will not consent to anything that infringes on its right to peaceful nuclear activities without promises that sanctions will be lifted.

"Iran will ultimately insist upon a guarantee ... that it has the right to enrich uranium," Mark Hibbs, analyst at the Carnegie Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told AFP ahead of the talks.

  • bluzulu - 2012-04-14 08:10

    Why does the west not go and do something progressive and leave the Iranians to produce energy for their country via Nuclear technology. LEAVE THESE PEOPLE ALONE.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-04-14 08:24

      Because one can't trust the Iranians. They have over the years, given too much support to TERRORIST groups. Although, it is very unlikely they are THAT crazy , they would use a nuclear bomb themselves , They are CRAZY enough to "give" a TERRORIST group one of these weapons. The chance of this happening, is just too large !! And this is NOT an issue of the West against Iran, but it is Iran against the WORLD. Fortunatelly, just about every country in the world, including Russia and China, is determent, that Iran will not get anywhere close to be able to develop nuclear bombs !!!!

      Ian - 2012-04-14 09:44

      yeah right, with comments like israel must be wiped off the map, i dont think so , if anything iran must be wiped off the map,

      Fidel - 2012-04-14 10:11

      The 'threat to Israel' is a risible argument based on some dubiously-translated comments Ahmedinejad made to his base support of theocratic loons. I can't understand the constant repetition of what is known to be untrue, when there is so much true craziness out there to be used. Considering the Israeli expansion, who is wiping who off of the map?

      Fred - 2012-04-14 13:06

      Iran has been hijacked by a self-serving, oppressive regime that adjusts elections to stay in power, favors the stoning to death of women, funds international terrorism, routinely threatens Israel, and denies the occurrence of the Holocaust which is the biggest attempt at human genocide in the history of humankind: six million Jewish people exterminated. The IAEA has specifically said there are two nuclear sites the regime is hiding. You overlook this too. The result: your perspective is wrong and irrelevant.

      Fidel - 2012-04-14 13:44

      Same old rubbish repeated in thread after thread. Sock puppetry?

      Fred - 2012-04-14 17:00

      Is the madman Moamar Gaddafi still going to run the Rebels and Nato out of Libya Fidell? :)

  • Sibusiso - 2012-04-14 08:27

    But the US is the only country that has used a nuclear bomb in human history, are they not the ones that should not be trusted ?

      Ian - 2012-04-14 09:46

      yes but the US is stockpiled with birds ready to fly in a nano second, Listen i would rather trust governments with 1000's of nukes than the lunatic that only wants one

      Fidel - 2012-04-14 10:13

      If they are that looney, I would not imagine they have the ability to develop a nuke so no need to worry.

      Fred - 2012-04-14 13:12

      That's too simple Sibusisu. Why did the US do that?

  • Muhammad Cassim - 2012-04-14 08:35

    Oh please Anthony - you got to wake and stop being manipulated by your thoughts - get a grip on reality, at the moment , America is sending soldiers to Afghanistan and Iraq, they seem more war mongers than anything else, I think American soldiers are idiots as they losing their lives over their leaders greed, they really not benefitting their families and people of U S A by going to war in lands very far from their own - am glad they getting whipped all over - their war has messed their economy up which in turn "affects" the rest of the world - they need to leave Iran alone

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-04-14 08:53

      Sibusiso, Maybe, but at present, it is far more important to see to it , that NO FURTHER country gets anywhere near to be able to make nuclear bombs!! Muhammad, Maybe, on Iraq and Afghanistan, we would find much common ground, but when you say "Iran needs to be left alone" NO WAYS !! NO country in the world should be left alone !!!!

      Fidel - 2012-04-14 10:15

      I find disingineous that people want to start the clock for the 'Middle East arms race' at a point which suits them, and completely ignores that there's already a nuclear armed nation in the ME, as well as others on its periphery. It's ridiculous of them to claim that an existing Israeli bomb is entirely benign, whereas a putative Iranian one is going to spark an arms race.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-04-14 10:31

      Fidel, No, what you don't seem able to understand is, that the world has changed drastically over the past 15 years. Up to than , it was a matter of another country developing a nuclear bomb, and using it themselves. Now, with TERRORIST groups sprung up all around the world, the fear of a nuclear attack has shifted from a nuclear power using a N bomb, to a TERRORIST group using one. But I am quite sure you do understand this clearly, but it does not fit into your silly anti Western propaganda !!!!!

      Fidel - 2012-04-14 10:50

      Iranian rulers are smart enough to know that giving nuclear technology will not stop Israel via its proxies to come up with other excuses and threats against Iran. Not as long as there are huge amounts of gas and oil sitting on Iranian subterranean. Moreover, if the US wants to stop nuclear proliferation, it would be a good idea to stop invading countries that don't have them, but leaving countries that do have them in peace. America and her lackeys should put a STOP to their warmongerring! "We hope Iraq will be the first domino and that Libya and Iran will follow. We don't like being kept out of markets because it gives our competitors an unfair advantage," John Gibson, chief executive of Halliburton's Energy Service Group, International Oil Daily 7th May of 2003 (less than 7 weeks after the invasion of Iraq) Should the Iranians ignore this threat, after what has happened in Iraq and Libya, otherwise, it would be a dereliction of duty on their part to protect their citizens from "shock and awe". It is the US that is a threat to global security and peace, by constantly meddling and invading countries that do not want to be its supplecant. Study history and see who the aggressors have always been!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-04-14 11:02

      Sadly, you understand so little of what's happening in N Africa and the ME. If you for once would take your blinkers off, and stop this childish anti American propaganda, you might, yes might, get a little undertanding, that American and European influence , to what has been happening in N Africa and now in Syria, is an absolute MINIMUM. They would have much rather have kept their cozy relationships with these CRIMINAL THUGS. But all this is just too much for you to grasp !!!

      Fidel - 2012-04-14 11:13

      But can we stick to the point (Iran) at debate here, rather than throwing pointless obstacles in the way to obscure it. People who move the goalposts every five minutes in order to try and win and argument without actually bothering to provide any data themselves are as inane as they are irritating. I've given you reasons why the the Iranians want to persue nuclear technology, care to refute that.

      bluzulu - 2012-04-14 11:16

      The world has not changed for hundreds of years. All things are viewed through the upliftment of the west whilst the third world remains static.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-04-14 12:10

      @Bluzulu, That is nonsense , that the world has not changed for hundreds of years. Just in the last 15 years, our world is a hundred times more dangerous. Again , fortunatelly, Russia and China are also aware of this, as TERRORISM is as much a threat to them, as it is to the West !! And the MAIN reason why much of the underdeveloped world ( third world ) REMAINS STATIC, is because continiously the blame for this is put on the USA and Europe. If Africa would start taking its own responsibility, it would be a good start. But than one gets these halfbaked pseudo intellectuals with their BS stories, and tell the USA and Europe to immediately stop their aid to Africa........., EVEN if this would mean the additional deaths of MILLIONS of Africans !!! Talking about enemies of Africa !!!!!

      Fred - 2012-04-14 13:00

      And all the while your Muslim brothers and sisters are being blown to smithereens by the Jihadists in your midsts, that are being funded by the Iranian regime. What do you do about this? Nothing. The US is, and it's succeeding. You undermine it, blame it, try to weaken it. So dumb.

      Fidel - 2012-04-14 13:01

      I like how you have managed to avoid my points and gone straight to your usual tangents. Well done!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-04-14 13:18

      Fidel, Sorry, I have not stopped crying since you told me about the reasons for Iran wanting nuclear technology; It is for cancer research!! The Iranian leadership are suchhhh gooooood people. Lets just stop this BS, and FLATTEN Iranian nuclear facilities. And Russia and China will behave like a small child; between their tears, will be smiles !!!!!

      Fidel - 2012-04-14 14:12

      Ahhh, sacarsm, always there when the higher forms of wit aren't!

      Fred - 2012-04-14 17:01

      Fidel, you were hopelessly wrong about Libya and haven't learnt yet. Still perfectly upside down.

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