By Jonathan Tirone, Kambiz Foroohar & Indira A.R. Lakshmanan
October 15, 2013
Iran proposed tighter monitoring of its nuclear program within a six-month period to verify it’s not pursuing atomic weapons during the first talks with world powers since it pledged to end a decade-old standoff.
Iran unveiled its offer during negotiations today at Geneva’s Palais des Nations with world powers including China, Russia, France, Germany, the U.K and U.S. It’s the first round of nuclear negotiations since Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, and U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone last month, marking the highest level contact between the two countries since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
In outlining Iran’s proposal, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told reporters the nation is ready to offer “confidence building measures,” without giving details. Those concessions would be subject to verification by a joint monitoring committee made up of officials from Iran and the international community. Araghchi said Iran’s position was listened to “in a serious, constructive atmosphere.”
Since being elected to the presidency in June, Rouhani’s overtures have raised expectations of progress in negotiations. Israel and the U.S. have left open the possibility of strikes against nuclear sites should the talks fail and Iran seeks to develop nuclear weapons. The dispute has been driven by Iran’s insistence on a right to enrich uranium as part of a program they say is solely for civilian purposes.
World powers said this morning they were waiting with “cautious optimism” to hear the Iranian proposals. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the highest ranking official at the meeting, gave a one-hour slide show entitled “Ending an Unnecessary Crisis and Opening New Horizons,” according to Araghchi.
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