The U.S. State Department said Thursday an Iranian proposal for talks
with world powers was not really responsive on the key issue of Iran's
nuclear ambitions. However, officials say the United States, the other
permanent U.N. Security Council member countries and Germany - the
P5+1 grouping - are likely to seek follow-on talks with
State Department says the proposal handed to diplomats in Tehran
Wednesday repeated Iran's publicly-stated assertion that it considers
the nuclear issue closed.
But officials here are signaling
that the P5+1 intend none-the-less to take Iran up on its
offer of talks with the major powers, and test its readiness to address
issues of concern including its nuclear program.
At a news
briefing, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley
said the Iranian document is not really responsive to concern about
Tehran's nuclear intentions, but said this does not foreclose the
possibility of a renewed big-power dialogue with Tehran.
willing to engage Iran in direct diplomacy based on mutual respect and
mutual interests and we seek a willing partner," he said. "But I think
that as we consult with our P5+1 colleagues, we'll be
looking to see how ready Iran is to actually engage, and we will be
testing that willingness to engage in the next few weeks."
diplomats of the six-power grouping held a video conference call
shortly after receipt of the Iranian proposal Wednesday, and Crowley
said there would be another such discussion Friday that a senior
official here said would be aimed at crafting a common position for a
response to Tehran.
The senior official said that while there is
nothing really new in the Iranian document, the P5+1 members
now at least have a reply in hand to an offer of dialogue conveyed to
Tehran last April.
The major powers offered Iran a revised
package of economic and political incentives to halt a uranium
enrichment program seen as weapons-related, and return to talks with
major powers on its nuclear intentions.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said earlier this week Iran rejects any halt to the
enrichment effort which it says is part of a peaceful nuclear program,
but is ready for talks on a wide-range of world issues including
P5+1 foreign ministers are
expected to discuss Iran on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly
in New York the third week of this month.
administration has indicated it will press for tougher international
sanctions against Iran if it does not accept good-faith negotiations on
the nuclear issue by the end of September.
Thursday in Vienna,
the U.S. envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency Glyn Davies
said Iran is either very near to having, or is already in possession
of, enough low-enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon, if it made
the decision to further enrich it to weapons-grade.