A Western official on Wednesday said the latest round of talks between world powers and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program have ended.
It was not immediately clear what, if anything, was resolved during the two days of negotiations.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed that the West had offered to ease sanctions on Iran if the Islamic Republic agreed to limit uranium enrichment to below 20 percent, “a short technical step from weapons grade,” Reuters reported.
Technical experts from both sides will meet in Istanbul in the coming weeks to discuss the latest proposals, Iranian state TV reported. The Istanbul meeting will be conducted March 17-18, while another round of negotiations is scheduled for April 5-6, Ryabkov was quoted as saying.
Iran’s top negotiator, Saeed Jalili, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton were expected to talk to reporters later.
The Obama administration is pushing for diplomacy to solve the impasse but has not ruled out the possibility of military intervention in Iran to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
“Our proposal includes reciprocal measures that encourage Iran to make concrete steps,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday. “My hope is Iran will make its choice to move down the path to a diplomatic solution.”
Israel has threatened it will use all means to stop Iran from being able to build a bomb, potentially as soon as this summer, raising the specter of a possible Mideast war.
In Jerusalem, former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman called Tuesday on the international community to take more “significant” steps to dislodge Iran from its nuclear program. Liberman, who is acting head of the Knesset’s influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, did not elaborate.
“Sanctions alone will not be enough to rein in those same extremists from their goal to achieve nuclear capabilities and the time has come to move toward steps that are much more significant than the talks and sanctions that we’ve seen to date,” said Liberman.
Off-and-on talks between Iran and the world powers — the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany — began after the six offered Tehran a series of incentives in 2006 in exchange for a commitment from Tehran to stop enrichment and other activities that could be used to make weapons.