World powers gave Iran an updated offer Tuesday during talks on Iran’s controversial nuclear program, and hope for “more detailed feedback” from Iranian representatives when the talks resume Wednesday.
Diplomats characterized the talks in Kazakhstan as off to a “useful” start but did not make public details of the proposals.
Michael Mann, the spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told reporters late Tuesday that world powers will await Iran’s detailed response.
“We want to come out of this meeting with something; with a sign from the Iranians that they are prepared to move,” he said.
Mann refused to characterize the talks as a “last chance” for Iran, but he told VOA’s Persian Service there needs to be some progress.
The talks in Kazakhstan are the first in eight months.
The so-called P5+1 group of nations – the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – are expected to offer to ease some sanctions against Iran if Tehran agrees to halt some of its nuclear activity.
London correspondent for VOA Persian Bijan Farhoodi is in Kazakhstan and says the group is very much concerned about Iran’s 20 percent uranium enrichment, which makes Tehran closer to reaching the uranium grade fit for making an atomic bomb.
“So, what they want is Iran to stop its 20 percent production of uranium and to close the Fordo enrichment plant near Qom and send out whatever reserve of 20 percent that they have outside Iran,” Farhoodi said.
Farhoodi says that Iranian officials are preparing several counter-offers and will produce the one they consider commensurate to the benefits offered by the other nations. But he adds the upcoming Iranian elections may affect the deal.
“It seems that everything is now dependent on the Iranian presidential elections, so what they care for is what’s going to happen in the election. And some sources say that [chief negotiator Saeed] Jalili is not willing to make any deal, any substantial deal before the elections, that he doesn’t want to be seen as a weak negotiator,” Farhoodi said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is urging Iran to move towards a diplomatic solution. Kerry met Tuesday with his German counterpart in Berlin and “expressed hope” that “Iran itself will make its choice to move down the path of a diplomatic solution.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency recently said that Iran has begun installing a new generation of centrifuges at its Natanz enrichment plant, a move U.S. officials have deemed “provocative.”
Over the past few years, the United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran in an effort to pressure it to curb its enrichment program. Several other countries, including the United States, have imposed their own additional measures.
The U.S. and other world powers suspect Iran is using its nuclear program to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its program has peaceful aims.