Nations Repeat Commitment to Negotiated Solution on Iran Nuclear Program
By David Gollust, VOA, United Nations 22 September 2010
United States and five other world powers, meeting Wednesday in New York,
reaffirmed their commitment to an early negotiated solution to the long-running
standoff with Iran over its nuclear program. Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad this week has signaled an interest in new talks.
Senior U.S. diplomats say there are "some signs" from Mr. Ahmadinejad and other
Iranian officials that Tehran may be willing to resume a dialogue this autumn,
and that the major powers are also ready to re-engage.
The comments came after an hour-long Iran strategy meeting at the European Union
mission in New York of the five permanent U.N. Security Council member countries
and Germany, the P5+1.
The six-power grouping has had an on-and-off dialogue with Iran over its nuclear
intentions, and last October offered to provide Iran with fuel for a Tehran
research reactor if it sent abroad part of its stockpile of low-enriched
In a joint statement, the P5+1 foreign ministers including Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton reaffirmed their "determination and commitment to an early
negotiated solution" to the Iran nuclear issue, and are ready to engage on the
nuclear swap deal which Tehran initially accepted but backed away from.
European Union chief diplomat Catherine Ashton spoke for the six powers.
"Our objective continues to be a comprehensive, long-term negotiated solution
which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of
Iran's nuclear program, which respecting Iran's legitimate right to the peaceful
use of nuclear energy," said Ashton. "We remain determined and united in our
efforts for this purpose."
Iranian President Ahmadinejad, in New York for U.N. General Assembly meetings,
told reporters Tuesday there is a good chance talks will resume because there is
no other alternative.
State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said if Iran is interested in serious
dialogue, it need only contact E.U. diplomacy chief Ashton.
"To the extent that President Ahmadinejad has indicated in some of his
statements that he's hopeful that talks will resume and perhaps soon, all we
would do is encourage him to call Lady Ashton and provide a date and a
location," said Crowley. "We've been waiting for Iran to agree to re-engage both
within in the P5+1 context and also within the IAEA. We believe that Iran knows
Cathy Ashton's number and we would hope that they would call."
A senior U.S. official who spoke to reporters on terms he not be further
identified said Iran has significantly expanded its enriched uranium stockpile
since the October swap offer. But he said such a deal would still be a
confidence-building step and an opening to broader nuclear talks.
Despite Iranian assertions of peaceful intentions, U.S. and European officials
believe its enrichment drive is weapons related.
The U.S. official said the six powers, including China which has extensive
financial ties to Iran, recommitted to implementing the fourth U.N. sanctions
resolution against Iran approved by the Security Council in June.
He said Secretary Clinton had no intention of engaging Iranian officials while
in New York, but that some other P5+1 diplomats will meet with them.
Clinton issued a statement condemning a lethal bomb attack Wednesday on Iranians
attending a military parade in the northwestern city of Mahabad. She said the
United States condemns terrorism and all forms of violence against innocent
people, wherever it occurs.
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