Iran: New proposals be made for nuke talks

Tehran, Oct 7 (IANS) Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday that the world leaders should make new proposals for the upcoming nuclear talks in Geneva, media reported.

"The previous proposals by the P5+1 belong to history and they should attend the upcoming talks with new proposals," Zarif was quoted as saying by semi-official ISNA news agency, Xinhua reported.

The P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the US plus Germany -- and Iran met two times in Almaty, Kazakhstan in February and April. The powers asked Iran to suspend its high-grade uranium enrichment and close down the underground bunker of Fordow where Iran enriches uranium to 20 percent.

In return, they offered to relieve some of the sanctions on Iran's petrochemical industry and its trade in precious metals. However, Iran did not accept the proposal, urging the powers to lift the sanctions in full.

The foreign ministers of the P5+1 and Iran met in New York last month and agreed to resume a fresh round of negotiations on Iran's nuclear standoff in Geneva Oct 15-16.

Iran insists on nuclear enrichment as its "right for peaceful nuclear activities." However, the West suspects that the Iranian nuclear enrichment programme may be used to develop weapon-grade activities.

Zarif reiterated the country's earlier position saying that Iran is ready to alleviate the concerns of the world community by working with a nuclear watchdog in a transparent manner.

However, his country should receive a "deserving response" from world powers by gaining Iran's confidence, said the minister, adding that his country's ultimate goal for the nuclear talks is the recognition of its "peaceful nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment on (its) soil."

The West is facing a test over solving Iran's nuclear issue diplomatically, said Zarif, emphasising that sanctions and pressures have not been proved effective as far as the country's nuclear programme is concerned.

He said new climate after President Hassan Rouhani's election in June has provided an opportunity for the West to "gain the trust of our people", adding that it is "illusion" for the West to think they can impose their wills on the Iranian nation.

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