Iran willing to discuss snap inspections of its nuclear facilities
Negotiations between Iran, world powers continue in Geneva; Iranian FM says signing 'additional protocol' is part of last step of proposal.
GENEVA - Iran and the world powers resumed talks for the second day in Geneva on Wednesday and many questions remain regarding the content of the new Iranian proposal that was presented on Tuesday.
At this stage, it appears as though the Iranian proposal includes the willingness to limit uranium enrichment, but also a demand that the world powers recognize Iran's right to enrich uranium on its soil.
Iranian state television reported that Iran discussed limiting uranium enrichment with the world powers and even expressed willingness to discuss signing the "additional protocol" - snap inspections of its nuclear facilities.
"None of these issues exist in the first step, but they are part of our last step," Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
On Wednesday morning, the Iranian deputy foreign minister and his advisers will meet with the negotiating teams of the European Union, the United States, Russia, China, Germany, Britain, and France. A second meeting between the Iranian delegation and the representatives of the six world powers is expected to take place on Wednesday afternoon.
An Iranian diplomat said that a joint statement by Iran and the six world powers will be released at the end of the talks. Afterward, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will hold separate press conferences.
On Tuesday evening, following the meeting between the U.S. and Iranian delegations, talks continued at the Intercontinental Hotel.Tweets by @BarakRavid
The head of the U.S. negotiating team, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, met Araqchi on Tuesday evening. An American official said that the meeting was similar to those held by the Iranians with other delegations.
On Wednesday morning, several reports surfaced regarding the three-staged Iranian proposal to the world powers, due to be enacted within 6-12 months. AP reported that the Iranians are proposing to limit uranium enrichment as well as the number of centrifuges doing the enrichment.
The Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that Iran is prepared to suspend uranium enrichment at 20%, but demands the removal of international sanctions in return.
Iran and the six world powers will hold a follow-up round of nuclear negotiations in a few weeks' time in Geneva, Zarif said in a post on his Facebook account on Wednesday.
Israel, on its part, is continuing to express concern regarding the nuclear talks. Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Wednesday that "Israel is watching the talks in Geneva with hope and concern."
Israel, he said, has not shut the door on prospects of a diplomatic solution. "If there will be a serious agreement that will distance Iran from the ability to develop a nuclear weapon we will congratulate it and it will be good for everyone," Steinitz said. "But we are concerned that the 2013 Geneva talks will turn into 1938 Munich. History has already seen an agreement that the entire world praised but only a year later World War II erupted."
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