The Group 5+1 has voiced 'serious concern' about Iran's nuclear program while saying it is committed to direct talks with Tehran.
"We remain firmly committed to a comprehensive diplomatic solution, including through direct dialogue," Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- and Germany said in a statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors.
"(We) urge Iran to take this opportunity for engagement with us and thereby maximize opportunities for a negotiated way forward," the French IAEA governor, Olivier Caron, told the 35-nation gathering in Vienna on behalf of the six.
The group did not mention any sanctions in their statement, but voiced 'serious concern' over Iran's nuclear achievements and called on Tehran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
The statement said Iran should grant wider-ranging inspections beyond declared nuclear sites and give IAEA inspectors documentation and on-the-ground access to allay mistrust in the purpose of its nuclear program.
The Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh, said on Monday that Tehran had resolved ambiguities about its nuclear program and urged the UN nuclear watchdog to issue its reports in a manner that reflects Iran's cooperation with the IAEA.
Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking a nuclear weapon, arguing that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) -- to which it is a signatory - grants it the right to a domestic, civilian nuclear industry.
The Group 5+1 statement came one day after US ambassador Gregory Schulte said Washington planned to 'strengthen diplomatic efforts' through 'direct engagement' with Iran to solve the nuclear stand-off.
Tehran and Washington have had no diplomatic relations for nearly three decades. The two countries severed all ties in 1980 in the aftermath of the US embassy takeover.
US President Barack Obama has vowed to begin direct talks with Iran to thaw relations between the two countries and resolve Iran's nuclear issue. However, he has made no concrete offer of talks yet.
Tehran says it is open to fair talks based on mutual respect while demanding fundamental changes in US foreign policy.
... Payvand News - 03/04/09 ... --