Talks on Iran's nuclear program end positively

Friday, October 2, 2009

Geneva - International talks on the long-standing Iranian nuclear issue concluded with positive results, with the Iranians agreeing to open a newly-disclosed nuclear facility to United Nations (UN) inspectors.

The Iranian delegation promised that Tehran would soon invite UN inspectors to its uranium-enrichment facility near Qom, and hopefully that would happen in the next couple of weeks, European Union (EU) foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said.

The Iranian delegation, headed by chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said Iran would "cooperate fully and immediately" with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

According to the EU official, the parties also agreed to hold a second round of meetings focusing on Iran's nuclear issue by the end of this month.

In a separate press conference, Jalili confirmed that the talks would be resumed within October and discussions would be based on "common grounds" between Iran and the six world powers.

He said he saw room for "new cooperation" following Thursday's talks.

While defending Iran's rights to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, Jalili said his country would observe its obligations within the framework of the IAEA and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Iranian official also called for global cooperation to deal with some "real security threats" the world is facing, including the proliferation of weapons of mass-destruction and nuclear warheads and their stockpiles.

Iran's position is "disarmament for everyone, and peaceful use of nuclear energy for everyone as well," he said through an interpreter.

The United States (US) and other Western powers have long suspected Iran's nuclear program is aimed at producing nuclear weapon material, but Tehran argues that it has no intention to make nuclear weapons and that its atomic drive is only for peaceful purposes.

This is the first high-level meeting between Iran and the six countries since a similar session in July 2008 ended without substantive progress. It's also the first time that the US is participating fully at the talks with Iran - the US was present at the 2008 talks only as an observer.

The US delegation to Thursday's talks was led by Under Secretary of State William Burns, and notably, the senior official held informal bilateral consultations with his Iranian counterpart Jalili during the talks, indicating the willingness of the Obama administration to engage with Iran.

The meeting between Burns and Jalili was considered the most high-level US-Iran contact since the two countries severed diplomatic relations following the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

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