U.S. and Iranian officials expressed an interest Tuesday in re-starting talks related to Tehran's nuclear program.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and his deputy said Washington is always interested in re-engaging Iran on a fuel-swap plan, but wants to make sure Tehran is sincere about the talks.
Deputy Energy secretary Daniel Poneman said it is important for Iran to address wider issues in nuclear talks with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, known as the P5 + 1.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says Iran is ready for dialogue but hopes the P5 + 1 will adopt an "accurate approach" to talks and recognize Iran's nuclear rights. He commented in a Tuesday news conference.
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to use his address to the U.N. General Assembly this week, Thursday, to stress to Iran that the cost of its uranium enrichment program will escalate if it fails to meet international obligations.
Alex Vatanka, a fellow at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, discusses U.N. sanctions against Iran:
On Monday, Mr. Obama said military action against a nuclear-armed Iran is possible, but diplomacy would be a much better way to solve such a crisis.
Deputy Secretary Poneman said the "facts on the ground" have changed since Iran rejected an offer that would have provided it with fuel rods for a medical reactor in exchange for some of Iran's low-enriched uranium stockpile.
The United States and many other nations suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian energy program. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is in New York this week to attend the U.N. General Assembly, says the nuclear-weapons charges are false.
Mr. Ahmadinejad complains the sanctions the U.N. has imposed on Iran for its defiance of Security Council rules about nuclear work are "illegal" and "insulting."
Some information for this report provided by AFP.