Russia cautiously optimistic on upcoming P5+1 talks on Iran
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister is hopeful negotiations between the P5+1 group (the UN Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany) and Iranian officials in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on February 26 will produce concrete results.
“We are approaching the moment when we will have to make different decisions,” Sergey Ryabkov told Interfax on Friday. “In any case, we would like the participants of the Almaty talks to share this understanding concerning the specifics of the moment." The Russian diplomat said that Russia has forwarded a plan that forms the core of the P5+1 group's position in that it envisions “gradual and mutual measures” to resolve the Iranian standoff.At the same time, Ryabkov noted that the Iranians “proposed their own ideas,” which included “lengthy and voluminous presentations” during past negotiations. The Deputy Foreign Minister emphasized that “real talks” will begin only when both sides explain why the measures proposed is “correct”. At that point, members of the P5+1 and Iran can attempt to “build upon what we have in common.”Asked whether the international negotiators will continue to make demands on Tehran regarding its nuclear research, Ryabkov responded that "we cannot put up for review the requirements set by resolutions of the UN Security Council and the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] Board of Governors." Russia believes these demands are “fair and legitimate,” especially in the absence of signs that demonstrate Iran's readiness to meet them. The P5+1 will continue to demand that Iran halt production of 20% enriched uranium, allow the existing stockpiles of this uranium to be shipped out of the country and shut down the Fordow nuclear facility."We will continue tackling the previously set tasks, but we will also try to hold these talks using somewhat new materials,” Ryabkov noted. “There can be different ways to achieve the same goals.”The approach the P5+1 group will present in Almaty should be more appealing to Iran than the previous one, the diplomat added.Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, while assuring that the upcoming talks will not be “a repeat of the previous round” (i.e., a failure), the risk of repeating the developments of the last round is “really high.”Ryabkov said the breakdown in the talks is due to a “political factor that will not influence the atmosphere in the best way.”Robert Bridge, RT