P5+1 talks end with Russia preaching diplomacy on Iran
A closed-door meeting between world powers on Iran’s nuclear issue ended Thursday with signals from Russia that it prefers to resolve the deadlock with “negotiations” rather than sanctions.
Ambassadors of the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany, a group often referred to as the “P5+1”, met in New York on Thursday to discuss a US-prescribed resolution for “biting” new sanctions against Iran over its enrichment activities.
After the three-hour session drew to a close, Russia’s representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin noted that pursuing a new sanction resolution against Iran is likely to be easier said than done.
Churkin, while critical of Iran’s refusal to consider a Western-backed nuclear deal, said a new sanctions resolution against the country “will be difficult,” a remark signaling the Kremlin’s reluctance in backing a fourth round of sanctions against the Tehran government.
“I don’t think any of us wants to impose sanctions, what we want to have is a diplomatic solution,” said Churkin.
“And all sorts of constructive proposals have been made to Iran. So if, as you mention, Iran wants to negotiate, they should start negotiating,” added the Russian diplomat.
His Chinese counterpart Li Baodong, meanwhile, described the negotiations as “constructive” but nevertheless asserted that Beijing expects western countries to work harder in dealing with Iran’s nuclear issue “diplomatically.”
This comes as Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has once again expressed Tehran’s readiness for a nuclear fuel swap without preconditions.
World powers, most of which possess and continue to develop vast nuclear arsenals that have been tested and even used in military confrontations, accuse Iran of the “intention” to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels and have gone to great lengths to prevent the country from producing fuel for its medical and industrial needs.
As a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran insists that it neither believes in atomic weapons, nor, as a matter of religious principles, does it intend to access such weapons of mass-destruction.
On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast dismissed as “illogical” any fresh sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear work.
“Sanctions and resolutions have not had and will not have any impact on our work,” Mehmanparast said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday. “Any action aimed to pile up pressure on Iran over its nuclear work especially outside the domain of the [International Atomic Energy] Agency (IAEA) is political, illogical and illegal.”