Iran favors interaction with P5+1: Foreign Minister

an and the P5+1 group of world powers end the first round of comprehensive talks in the Kazakh city of Almaty on April 5, 2013.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has reiterated Tehran’s stance in favor of interaction and against confrontation in talks with the P5+1 group of world powers, stressing that the negotiations should be based on wisdom and logic.

Addressing reporters upon his arrival in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Thursday, Salehi expressed hope that the P5+1 – Russia, China, Britain, France and the US plus Germany – would return to the negotiating table and prevent further prolongation of the talks.

Tehran and the six world powers have held several rounds of talks on a range of issues, with the main focus being Iran’s nuclear energy program. The two sides wrapped up their latest round of negotiations on April 6 in the Kazakh city of Almaty. An earlier meeting was also in Almaty on February 26-27.

EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, represented the group of six powers while Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili headed the Iranian negotiating team.

Salehi further called on the P5+1 representatives to remain committed to their promise of announcing the results of their consultations with their respective governments.

On Wednesday, Iran’s SNSC Deputy Secretary Ali Baqeri said Ashton had yet to contact Iran’s Jalili despite promises made following the Almaty 2 talks.

“During a press conference, Mrs. Catherine Ashton clearly stated that the P5+1 representatives would return to their capitals and after consulting with their [senior] officials, Mr. Jalili would be informed of their decision within a few days. But weeks past that time, no response has yet been received,” Baqeri explained.

The West led by the United States accuses Iran of potentially using its nuclear energy program as a cover for military proposes. Iran has vehemently rejected the allegation, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Salehi said that he is visiting Almaty with the purpose of attending the “Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference” with a focus on Afghanistan.

The third “Heart of Asia” foreign ministerial meeting, comprising of some 40 states and regional and international organizations, would be held to strengthen relations among regional nations, he noted.

The Iranian minister added that the meeting would discuss ways to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of foreign troops from the countrry after 2014.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity remains across the country, despite the presence of thousands of US-led troops.

Afghanistan and the US signed a strategic partnership agreement in May 2012, which would allow the US to keep some military bases in Afghanistan after its key forces withdraw from the country in 2014.

The administration of US President Barack Obama is contemplating a plan to keep up to 9,000 US soldiers in Afghanistan to conduct what it calls counter-terrorism operations and provide assistance to Afghan forces.

By Press TV


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