Accessibility links

Iran Issues Warning Ahead of Nuclear Talks

  • VOA News

Iran's Supreme leader says Tehran will not retreat on its nuclear rights, as negotiators from his country and a group of six world powers meet again Wednesday in Geneva.

Speaking ahead of the latest round of talks on Iran's nuclear program, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that he set "red lines" for his negotiators, but also that Iran wants to be friendly with all nations, including the United States.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, along with Germany, want an interim agreement that calls for Iran to stop some of its enrichment activity and accept more inspections in return for limited sanctions relief.

Michael Mann, spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told VOA's Persian News Network that while it is hard to predict the outcome, it is clear the talks are serious.

"I think the fact that we've come back to Geneva so soon after, it was just 10 days after the last round, shows how serious the negotiations are," Mann said.

Both sides have expressed hope for working out a deal in the decade-long standoff.

Iran's foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator Javad Zarif said in a video posted on YouTube that there is "every possibility" of coming to an agreement.

WATCH: Related video report

British Prime Minister David Cameron's office said he and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed in a telephone call Tuesday that "significant progress" was made in the last round of talks earlier this month.

The statement said Cameron also stressed the need for Iran to address the concerns of the international community, which has called for assurances that Iran is not trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has repeatedly denied those accusations, saying its nuclear activity is solely for peaceful purposes.

Zarif repeated warnings that Iran will not back down from what it argues is its right to enrich uranium, but said it will no longer insist that Western powers publicly acknowledge that right as a precondition for negotiations.

Also Tuesday, a senior U.S. lawmaker said Congress will not vote on any new economic sanctions against Iran while the talks continue.

Senator Bob Corker, ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House, Nov. 19, 2013, following a meeting with President Barack Obama.

Senator Bob Corker, ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House, Nov. 19, 2013, following a meeting with President Barack Obama.

Senator Bob Corker spoke after taking part in a meeting with other key Senate leaders at the White House, where President Barack Obama asked for the delay to further pursue diplomacy before considering other steps.

Corker did not offer details of the meeting, and did not say how long a delay the president requested. But he said no new sanctions amendments to the annual congressional defense bill will be considered before the end of the month, after the November 28 U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving.

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG