Foreign ministers of China, India and Russia have stressed that there is no alternative for resolving Iran’s nuclear program but “dialogue and negotiation.”
“The ministers [of China, Russia and India] recognized that Iran is entitled to the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” said a joint statement released on the Chinese foreign ministry’s website following the 10th minstrel meeting at the Chinese city of Wuhan on Monday.
The US accuses Iran of developing a military nuclear program, and has used this pretext to pressure the UN Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s financial and military sectors in June.
Iranian officials have repeatedly refuted the charges, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency Tehran has a right to use peaceful nuclear technology.
Iran has further criticized the US for its “hypocritical” approach to the nuclear issue, citing Washington’s support for the nuclear ambiguity policy of Israel — widely believed to be the sole processor of an atomic arsenal in the Middle East.
In recent months, the US and Israel have increasingly hinted at a “military” strikes against Iran, with Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen saying in August he was prepared to strike Iran if he was convinced the country was seeking a “bomb.”
“There is no alternative to the intensification of efforts to address the Iranian nuclear issue by peaceful means through dialogue and negotiation,” the ministers emphasized in their statement.
On October 14, EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton proposed three-day talks to be held in mid-November in the Austrian capital of Vienna, expressing hope that Tehran would “respond positively” to the offer.
Iran’s proposed date and venue for talks with the P5+1 — Britain, China, France, Russia and the US plus Germany — were announced last week in a letter sent by Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili to his counterpart Catherine Ashton.
Ashton accepted Iran’s proposed date for talks, but suggested Vienna or Switzerland as the venue for the first meeting.
Iran has announced that it will negotiate the issue of a nuclear fuel swap with the Vienna group — France, Russia, the US, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — within the framework of the Tehran declaration, and that its multifaceted talks with the P5+1 will not include the nuclear issue.
Iran signed a declaration with Turkey and Brazil on May 17 based on which Tehran agreed to exchange 1,200 kg of its low-enriched uranium on Turkish soil with nuclear fuel.