Iran Expects New Offer at Upcoming Talks

February 22, 2013
            Iranian officials expect the world’s six powers to make a new offer at the fourth round of nuclear talks scheduled for February 26. Iran will negotiate with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States—the so-called P5+1— in Almaty, Kazakhstan. “We will just be listening,”  negotiating team member Mostafa Dolatyar told Iranian news media on February 11. Tehran will offer ways to allay concerns on its controversial nuclear program if Western countries recognize its nuclear rights, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast on February 19. Other officials have warned that applying additional sanctions could undermine the diplomatic track.
            Iran and the P5+1 were unable to negotiate a settlement in three meetings in 2012. The first was in April in Istanbul, followed by another round of talks in Baghdad in May. The last meeting was held in Moscow in June 2012.

            British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that the P5+1 will present an “updated and credible offer” in
 Kazakhstan. But the “onus is on Iran to respond seriously and turn its declared willingness to negotiate into concrete action,” he warned on February 6. The following are remarks by key Iranian officials on the upcoming negotiations. 

U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee
            “That dual track approach currently pursued by a number of countries is a futile exercise in the sense that exerting pressure on Iran will definitely derail the efforts on the diplomatic track. So any negotiations to be successful must be conducted in a cooperative, constructive and positive spirit…"
            “Iran is serious about those talks and expects the other side to be serious and forthcoming so that that the next round of negotiations… would lead to positive and fruitful results.” Feb. 13, 2013 in a letter to the U.N. Security Council 
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast
            “We will offer ways for removing possible concerns and ambiguities to show our goodwill, if Western countries, especially the United States, fully recognize the nuclear rights of countries, which shows their goodwill…”
             “Adopting a rational approach will help resolve the issue and resorting to threat and pressure will never bear fruit… If our rights are accepted and recognized, then all possible consequences would be eliminated.” Feb. 19, 2013 in a weekly press briefing
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi
            “We are counting on there being positive and constructive steps made to resolve this problem at the upcoming meeting…”
            “Iran announced last year that it has drafted a five-point plan according to the proposals presented by Russia’s Foreign Minister [Sergei Lavrov] in 2011… Last month, however, the EU drafted and announced a separate three-stage plan… Now the negotiating parties will try to find common ground between the two plans.” Feb. 11, 2013 in an interview with Ria Novosti in Russia
Negotiating team member Mostafa Dolatyar
            “The P5+1 knows well that it should have a new proposal and word for Iran. In Almaty, we will be just listening… We have already expressed our views and we will respond to them based on what they are going to present to us.” Feb. 11, 2013 to Iranian news media
Secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezai
            “The United States is leading the sanctions against Iran and has stonewalled the negotiations with the P5+1 and then states that it wants to negotiate [with Iran].” Feb. 13, 2013 to Iranian news media