Tehran is ready to show flexibility at nuclear talks to ease Western concerns over its contentious nuclear program, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman reportedly said Saturday.
The remarks by Ramin Mehmanparast, published by the official IRNA news agency, underscore Iran’s push to resume talks with world powers as Western sanctions squeeze the economy tighter and the European Union weighs a boycott of Iranian natural gas.
“Iran is ready to show flexibility to remove concerns within a legal framework but such measures should be reciprocal,” Mehmanparast was quoted as saying. “The other party needs to take measures to fully recognize Iran’s nuclear rights and Iran’s enrichment for peaceful purposes.”
But contrary to the pragmatic viewpoint reflected in Mehmanparast’s words, remarks made Saturday by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested a more militant stance.
“We should not neglect the enemy. The enemy enters through various ways. One day it’s talk of sanctions. Another day it’s talk of military aggression. And one day, it’s talk of soft war … We have to be vigilant,” state TV quoted Khamenei as saying during a speech in northeast Iran.
Britain’s Guardian reported Friday that the so-called P5+1, a grouping comprised of the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, plans to launch a new diplomatic drive to defuse the Iranian nuclear crisis in the next several months, after the US elections.
According to the report, a “reformulated” proposal will offer the Islamic Republic some relief from crippling economic sanctions in exchange for Iran’s limiting the level of uranium enrichment.
“We recognize that the Iranians need something more with which they can sell a deal at home, and we will expect real change on the other side,” said one European official regarding the new diplomatic initiative.
The five members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany and Iran, aim to resume high-level talks that were suspended in June. The countries want the Islamic Republic to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent purity because at that level the material can be quickly turned into fuel for nuclear weapons.