Iran says won’t give up rights, agrees for another meet
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Last Updated: Thursday, October 01, 2009, 23:52
Geneva: Nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili told representatives of world powers at Geneva talks today that Iran will never give up its "absolute" rights on its controversial atomic programme, ISNA news agency reported.

"The Islamic republic of Iran will never give up its absolute rights," Jalili told EU negotiator Javier Solana and representatives of six world powers during the first round of talks, ISNA said.

It said that during the talks Jalili comprehensively explained the framework of Iran's package of proposals which takes into consideration economic, international security and political issues.

Jalili also stressed the need for complete global disarmament and called for strategies to achieve that aim to be put into place, ISNA said.

Iran and six world powers ended a landmark meeting Thursday with an agreement to take a new stab at overcoming years of mistrust generated by Tehran's nuclear program and meet again this month for wide-ranging discussions on the two sides' concerns.

Iran and six world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US -- are holding high-profile talks about Tehran's atomic programme which the West suspects is aimed at making nuclear weapons.

Iran vociferously denies the charge.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking in Washington shortly after the talks ended, called the day productive but sounded a pragmatic note, as well. "I will count it as a positive sign when it moves from gestures and engagements to actions and results," she said. "That's a necessary pathway and I think we're on it. We've always said we would engage. But we're not talking for the sake of talking," she said, adding, "Today's meeting opened the door, but let's see what happens."

Confirming that the seven nations planned to meet again, senior EU envoy Javier Solana said Iran had pledged to open its newly revealed uranium enrichment plant to International Atomic Energy Agency inspection soon.

The talks gained further importance after Iran revealed to the UN nuclear watchdog on September 21 that it was building a second uranium enrichment plant, a development that sparked fresh global outrage against Tehran.

World powers want Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, the process which can make fuel for a nuclear power plant but can also be used to make the fissile core of an atom bomb.

The second uranium plant is being built near a military base on the highway to the holy city of Qom, Iran's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters earlier this week.

On the sidelines of the talks in Geneva, US envoy William Burns held one-on-one talks with Jalili in a rare official encounter between representatives of the arch-foes, a US spokesman said.

US State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood refused to reveal details of the encounter, but it highlights the new US engagement policy favoured by US President Barack Obama since he succeeded George W Bush in January.

It is the first time Iranian and US officials have held direct talks on a bilateral issue since the two sides broke off relations 30 years ago, although meetings did take place during the Bush years to discuss Iraq and Afghanistan.

Amid widening Western concerns about whether Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, the international powers have urged Tehran to give the International Atomic Energy Agency access to the previously secret site near Qom.

At the United Nations, the Iranian Foreign Minister confirmed the plant would be opened to inspectors.

"The letter from the IAEA to the Islamic Republic of Iran, in response to the information we have provided in this respect, and with regard to the new facilities that are under construction, indicate the fact that the agency has appreciated Iran's move and dialogue for arranging a visit by the IAEA official is under way," Manouchehr Mottaki said.

Mottaki suggested his country's talks with the U.S. and five other world powers could be expanded to the "summit" level.

He said Iran was willing to discuss a variety of security, economic and political issues, although he did not specifically refer to nuclear issues, which the six powers consider the most critical topic.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, October 01, 2009, 23:52

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