Iran to offer new proposal at nuclear talks in Geneva

Iran to offer new proposal at nuclear talks in Geneva

Hassan Rouhani promised he would end 10-year standoff with the West over nuclear programme.

Iranian nuclear negotiators will offer a new proposal Tuesday that is intended to persuade world powers that the country’s nuclear programme has only peaceful aims,a top official said Sunday.

The announcement came from Abbas Araghchi,the deputy foreign minister and one of Iran’s negotiators in the nuclear talks set to begin Tuesday in Geneva. Araghchi told Iranian news media that his team would present a three-step plan that would secure the independence of Iran’s civilian nuclear programme while giving assurances that the country is not trying to assemble atomic weapons.

“We need to move towards a trust-building road map with the Westerners,” Araghchi told the Islamic Student News Agency in an interview. “To them,trust-building means taking some steps in the nuclear case,and for us this happens when sanctions are lifted.”

Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani has promised Iranians that he would end the 10-year standoff with the West over the nuclear programme. The sanctions have seriously impeded Iran’s ability to sell oil,and have cut the country off from the international banking system.


Araghchi did not discuss details of the new plan. Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted a message on his personal Twitter account Friday saying new proposals from his country would be presented in Geneva on Tuesday and not before. “No speculations please (of course if you can help it!!!),” he wrote.

Among the West’s concerns that Iran seems prepared to address in Geneva are the country’s growing stockpile of uranium that has been enriched to 20 per cent,which is only a few technical steps away from being suitable for building weapons.

Iranian officials have suggested that the stockpile could be diluted to a lower level or be used to make relatively harmless fuel cells for a research reactor in Tehran.

“Of course we will negotiate regarding the form,amount,and various levels of enrichment,” Araghchi said on state television Tuesday. But he seemed to dismiss a proposal raised by the West in earlier talks that some of Iran’s nuclear material be sent abroad for reprocessing. “The shipping of materials out of the country is our red line,” he said.

The fact that Secretary of State John Kerry will most probably not be present at the talks in Geneva on Tuesday has disappointed some in Iran,especially after the Iranians agreed during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September to engage in direct talks with the United States.

“If the world powers are serious,they must up the level of the talks to that of foreign ministers,” Araghchi said. He said Iran does not expect an immediate response to its new offer,and that it is willing to have technical meetings on details of the plan. “Our most important worry is that we want to return the trust to the Iranian people by lifting the sanctions,” Araghchi said.

Iran arrests man for faking ministers’ Facebook pages

TEHRAN: Iran has arrested a man accused of opening fake Facebook accounts in the names of some cabinet ministers,judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie said Monday. In recent weeks,reports suggested some ministers were active on Facebook,but the ministers denied they have any social media accounts,Mohseni-Ejeie said,cited by IRNA news agency. An investigation was launched and a man was arrested for having opened “these fake accounts,and he is now in prison”,the spokesman added. The man’s identity was not immediately known. PTI