Iran wins `good reaction` to nuclear proposal

Iran said its hotly awaited proposal to break the deadlock with world powers over its nuclear programme earned a good reception on Tuesday, in talks seen as a test of a thaw under new President Hassan Rowhani.

AFP| Last Updated: Oct 15, 2013, 23:55 PM IST

Geneva: Iran said its hotly awaited proposal to break the deadlock with world powers over its nuclear programme earned a good reception on Tuesday, in talks seen as a test of a thaw under new President Hassan Rowhani.

The hour-long PowerPoint presentation by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his team was for the first time delivered in English, Western officials said, underlining a new mood in the often-tense nuclear talks.

Senior Iranian negotiator Abbas Aragchi praised the "very positive environment" and said the "reaction was good" across the table.

He told reporters that all sides had agreed not to reveal details, but insisted the proposal was "very comprehensive" and eclipsed one made in April under Rouhani`s predecessor that ended up a dead letter.

However he was quoted by the Iranian state news agency IRNA as saying that snap inspections of Iran`s nuclear facilities were not on the table.

"It does not exist in the offer," Araghchi told IRNA.

Iran`s two-day meeting with the European Union-chaired P5+1 group -- the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany -- ends a six-month hiatus over the Islamic republic`s refusal to curb uranium enrichment in exchange for the easing of punishing international sanctions.

"The climate of the meeting was very good and very constructive. The proposal that we have introduced has the capacity to make a breakthrough," Aragchi said after today`s opening session.

The talks in Geneva are seen as test for the administration of President Hassan Rowhani, who took office in August pledging transparency on the nuclear programme and engagement with the international community to help lift the sanctions strangling Iran`s economy.

Rowhani took office in August after conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, under whom the nuclear talks hit the wall, served out his second four-year term in power.

"We are very serious. We are not here symbolically, to waste our time. We are serious for target-oriented negotiations," said Aragchi.

Iran`s archfoe Israel has warned the world not to fall for "sweet talk" from Rowhani.

Western negotiators insist they are not naive but that the change in Tehran`s tone, at least, is clear.

EU spokesman Michael Mann underlined the "very different" atmosphere.

"We have come here with a sense of cautious optimism and a great sense of determination because we believe it`s really time now for tangible results," Mann told reporters in Geneva.

"There are signals from Tehran that they want to engage in these negotiations, that they want to be more transparent. The proof would be if they made real progress," he said.