Iran Official: Nuclear Talks Must End Economic Sanctions

Head of Iran's parliament's foreign policy commission says Ashton's comment on possibility of retaining civil nuclear program 'can be interpreted as big development.'

Iran on Sunday voiced hope that the next planned round of international talks about its nuclear program would lead to a lifting of sanctions upon it, the Fars news agency reported.

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Iran nuclear Bushehr

Iran held talks in Istanbul on Saturday with representatives from six world powers - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. Labeling the talks positive and constructive, the two sides decided to resume the talks on May 23 in Baghdad in an effort to settle the dispute over Iran's controversial nuclear programs.

"The Istanbul talks were a good and a positive step forward and it was decided that, in the next talks ... the lifting of banking and oil sanctions against Iran would be raised," Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the parliament's foreign policy commission, said.

The United States and European Union have, since January, imposed sanctions against the Iranian Central Bank and the country's oil exports, Tehran's main source of revenue.

The lawmaker repeated Iran's official stance that any Iranian uranium enrichment, whether at 3.5 or 20 per cent, has always been targeted for covering local needs and always been under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Referring to Ashton's remarks that Iran had the right to have a civil nuclear program, Broujerdi said that the Ashton's remarks "showed a new approach which can be interpreted as big development."

Iran's main demand from the world powers is: acknowledgement of its right to pursue peaceful nuclear technology; lifting of the sanctions; and return of the Iranian nuclear dossier from the UN Security Council in New York to the IAEA in Vienna.

If this acknowledgement was made, then Iran would be ready to accept concessions on both more IAEA inspections and suspension of its work to enrich uranium to the 20-per-cent level, which many foreign analysts see as a step on the way to nuclear weaponization.

On Saturday, sources close to the talks told Haaretz that the Iranians are demanding an American and European commitment not to carry out a military attack on their country as long as the talks continue.