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ANKARA, April 14 (Itar-Tass) —— The sextet of international mediators (the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany) and Iranian representatives will meet in Istanbul for talks on Iran’s nuclear program. This will be Turkey’s third attempt to play the role of a mediator in resolving the dispute. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov is representing Russia.
In May 2010 Turkey and Brazil helped achieve an agreement with Iran on the exchange of its low-enriched uranium for a certain amount of highly-enriched uranium for nuclear reactors. The exchange was to take place in Turkey’s territory. However, the US stance upset the exchange, and the UN Security Council made a decision in favor of new sanctions. Another round of the sextet’s talks with Iran in Istanbul in January 2011 ended inconclusively.
Statements by the Iranian side on the eve of the forthcoming meeting have raised certain hope for progress. The secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili has said that his country will present a number of new initiatives for resolving the controversy over the Iranian nuclear program. Iran hopes that the other party will approach the negotiations constructively, he said.
The United States has welcomed this approach to the discussion, but it remains unclear what sort of initiatives Iran is going to propose. As before, Teheran insists on its right to use and develop nuclear power. It says that all uranium enrichment work is being carried out exclusively for peaceful purposes and the nuclear fuel will be used for nuclear power plants and for medical needs. Jalili, who voiced the hope the sextet’s constructive attitude, also said that Iran would not agree to any preconditions. Nor does Iran plan to accept the international mediators’ demand to close down the uranium enrichment facilities at Fordo. The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency Firuddin Abbasi said his country would continue to work on its nuclear program under the IAEA control.
Of late, Iran has more than once called for a resumption of the dialogue. The calls were made against a background of a reduction in the import of Iranian crude oil by some countries at the request of the United States. On March 6 the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, who acts as the coordinator of the consultations, declared the readiness to continue the negotiating process with the aim to lift the concerns of the international community over the Iranian nuclear program. Some countries suspect the program has a military component.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that her country and the other members of the five plus one group will be prepared to consider the possibility of extending to Iran extra guarantees, if Teheran clears up the nature of its nuclear program. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for his part, said it was necessary to shed light on Ian’s intentions and to be sure this program does not have a military dimension. He said that Russia, just like the United States, believed that it would be constructive to make a multi-phased approach on the basis of reciprocity.