Catherine Ashton, the EU’s head of foreign policy, has released a statement asserting that Iran is engaging in the “most detailed talks ever” with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (America, Russia, China, France, and Britain) plus Germany.
The participants have been meeting in Geneva. Ashton joined Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to describe the talks as “substantive and forward-looking.”
Ashton’s statement continued, “The participants also agreed that E3+3 and Iranian nuclear, scientific and sanctions experts will convene before the next meeting to address differences and to develop practical steps.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney stated that Iran was acting with a “level of seriousness and substance that we have not seen before.” UK Foreign Secretary William Hague reported that “diplomats have for the first time begun more substantive discussions with Iran.”
But Russia differed; Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, “There is no reason to break into applause; things could have worked out better.”
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minster Abbas Araqchi said Iran might permit snap visits to Iranian nuclear sites as a “last step” in a deal; he added that Iran might lower its uranium enrichment levels. But Araqchi had stated earlier that Iran would never agree to give up its enriched uranium, saying, “We will not allow even a gram of uranium to go out of the country.”
Ashton is singing the same song she did in April of 2012. In April, 2012, after meeting with Iran’s top negotiator, Saeed Jalili, she said:
We have agreed that the nonproliferation treaty forms a key basis for what must be serious engagement to ensure all the obligations under the treaty are met by Iran while fully respecting Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
She added that the meeting was the beginning of a “sustained process of serious dialogue.”