TEHRAN: World powers will hold fresh talks with Iran on its nuclear program on Tuesday, amid raised hopes of a less hardline approach from the Islamic republic’s new president.
The two-day meeting in Geneva will be the first such negotiations since President Hassan Rouhani, a reputed moderate, took office in August.
He has pledged to engage the world constructively and to resolve the decade-long showdown on Iran’s controversial atomic ambitions.
Western powers and Israel suspect Tehran is developing a nuclear military capability, a claim repeatedly denied by the Iranian leadership.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has taken over as Iran’s top negotiator with the so-called P5+1 group of the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia plus Germany.
But so far he has been tight-lipped on what Iran is prepared to offer in exchange for relief from harsh sanctions which have damaged its ailing economy, hampering the bulk of its oil exports and its vital access to global banking.
“We will present our views, as agreed, in Geneva, not before,” Zarif said in a tweet on Friday.
The government-run “Iran” newspaper, quoting sources close to Iranian negotiators, said Saturday without elaborating that Tehran’s proposals would be based on “realistic approaches and acceptable logic.”
It also said they would “address some Western concerns.”
Tehran has insisted that it will not back down from what it considers its “right” to operate a uranium enrichment program on its soil—which could provide fuel for both civilian and military objectives—while not ruling out that other aspects of its drive might be up for discussion.