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John Kerry urges new nuclear proposals from Iran

Western powers and Israel have long accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear bombs.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday urged Iran to come up with new nuclear proposals,rebuffing Tehran’s position that the onus is now on foreign powers to unblock the long-running impasse.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that the previous foreign offer,made by the “P5+1” group at two meetings in the Kazakh capital of Almaty before the June election of moderate President Hassan Rouhani,was no longer valid.

But Kerry,while welcoming recent overtures including a historic contact between Rouhani and US President Barack Obama,said the ball remained in Iran’s court.

“The group of six put a proposal on the table at Almaty and I don’t believe as of yet Iran has fully responded to that particular proposal. So I think we are waiting for the fullness of the Iranian difference in their approach now,” he told reporters in Indonesia after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

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“So what we need are a set of proposals from Iran that will fully disclose how they will show the world that their programme is peaceful.”

Western powers and Israel have long accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear bombs in the guise of a civilian programme,charges Tehran has always vehemently denied

The proposals made in Almaty required Iran to suspend uranium enrichment at the 20 percent level it says it needs for a medical research reactor,and to halt enrichment at its underground plant at Fordo near the central city of Qom.

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EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton,who represents the six powers in the talks,said last month that she was still waiting for Iran’s response to those previous proposals.

But Zarif said that Rouhani’s election had changed the dynamics.

“The previous offer by the P5+1 is history and they should come to the negotiating table with a new approach,” the ISNA news agency quoted him as saying yesterday,while renewing his insistence that a deal could be reached to address the concerns of both sides.

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A new round of talks is due in mid-October in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1,comprising the five UN Security Council permanent members-Britain,China,France,Russia and the United States-plus Germany.

They will be the first formal talks held since a phone conversation last month between Rouhani and Obama,the first direct contact between presidents of the two countries since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

“We are encouraged by the outreach,” Kerry said.

But he stressed Obama’s belief that “it’s not words that will make the difference. It is actions that will make the difference”.

Speaking to reporters alongside Kerry,Lavrov appeared to play down the significance of Zarif’s latest comments.

He said Iran and the world powers still had the same final goals,and that the leadership in Tehran “probably wanted more specifics” in the roadmap already laid out.

First published on: 07-10-2013 at 02:40:59 pm
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