Iran FM: Iran, world powers seek ‘exit’ from nuclear stalemate

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Monday he is optimistic about upcoming Iran nuclear talks and that both sides seek to move past the current diplomatic impasse.

“Both sides”—Iran and the P5+1—“have concluded that they have to exit the current impasse,” Salehi said in an interview published Monday (Dec 17) by the Iran Student News Agency (ISNA), first reported in English by Reuters.

“Iran wants its legitimate and legal right and no more,” Salehi continued. “They know very well Iran will not give up its legitimate right.”

Iran’s top diplomat said he didn’t know when the next round of talks will be held.

A spokesperson for the office of European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told Al-Monitor Monday they had no new word from Iran on when they would meet.

Ashton’s deputy Helga Schmid spoke with her Iranian counterpart Dr. Ali Bagheri last week (Dec 12) to propose possible meeting dates as early as this week. But diplomats said they expected a meeting is more likely to materialize in January.

Salehi told ISNA he could not comment on the P5+1 package Iran had received.

Western diplomats have indicated that the proposal has been updated from the “stop, ship and shut” package presented to Iran at a meeting in Baghdad last May, but have provided no details on the changes.

“The package has the same bone structure, but with some slightly different tattoos,” a senior US official was cited by the Washington Post Friday.

“Our assessment is that it is possible that they are ready to make a deal,” the official said.

Iranian lawmaker Aleaddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Majles National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said Monday the package should include some form of sanctions relief.

They must certainly give some incentive in return, and in my opinion a reasonable and equal incentive would be lifting the sanctions,” Boroujerdi said Monday. adding a P5+1 meeting with Iran was unlikely to take place until Iran’s next meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Jan. 16th.

(Photo: Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi addresses a news conference during his visit to Somalia, in Mogadishu November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Omar Faruk.)