Jalili reasserts Iran’s right to enrichment

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Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili told Iranian lawmakers Wednesday that the international community should take a more cooperative stance in order to advance negotiations with Tehran, and reasserted Iran’s right to enrichment for energy purposes.

“What has ended is the time of illogical pressure strategy, and on the opposite the time for dialogue and cooperation has started and the West should move in the direction of talks and cooperation strategy,” Jalili told an open session of Iran’s parliament, Iran’s FARS news agency reported.

“Based on the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), enrichment is an inalienable right of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran is a member of the NPT and if enrichment is for peaceful purposes, there will be no problem (restriction),” he said.

His comments come ahead of the next round of P5+1/Iran talks, due to take place in Moscow June 18-19th.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in meetings in Iran today ahead of Moscow hosting the talks, and also to discuss Syria. Russia–as well as UN/Arab League Syria envoy Kofi Annan–have pressed for Iran to be included in a contact  group on the Syria violence, but the United States has so far rejected the idea.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern Tuesday about alleged information that Russia may be delivering attack helicopters to Syria, but the Pentagon later said it couldn’t confirm the claim.

Analysts suggested the helicopters are likely not new sales but Russian upgrades of Syrian helicopters.

Separately, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Wednesday for mandatory enforcement of the Annan 6-point peace plan for Syria, under a UN Chapter VII resolution.

“We propose making the implementation of the Annan plan compulsory,” Fabius told a news conference, Reuters reported. “We need to pass to the next speed at the Security Council and place the Annan plan under Chapter 7 – that is to say make it compulsory under pain of very heavy sanctions.”

A senior French diplomat, Jacques Audibert, was in Moscow Wednesday, to discuss Syria, a French official told Al Monitor. Audibert, France’s envoy to the P5+1 talks, “is pretty much in charge,” the official said.