Iran told it won't be all talk on nukes
GENEVA — World powers will press Iran on Wednesday for details of its proposal on resolving the decade-old nuclear dispute.
Western diplomats stress they want Iran to back up its newly conciliatory language with concrete actions. They say Iran must scale back its nuclear program, allaying suspicions that it is seeking the capability to make atomic bombs.
Both sides are trying to dampen expectations of any rapid breakthrough at the two-day meeting in Geneva — the first to be held since President Hassan Rouhani took office. He has promised conciliation over confrontation in Iran's relations with the world.
“There is still an awful lot of work to be done,” said a spokesman for the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who oversees diplomacy with Iran on behalf of the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.
“We have had a certain amount of information from the Iranian side, and we will hope to get more detail from them tomorrow,” spokesman Michael Mann.
His statement suggested that Iran must convince Western nations that it is willing to curb the nuclear work and assure them that nuclear production is purely for peaceful energy production and medical purposes, as Tehran says.
Negotiators started discussing the “nitty-gritty” details of Iran's suggestions, Mann said.
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said his side has presented a proposal capable of achieving a breakthrough. But he later added it isn't possible to tell whether progress is being made.
“It's too soon to judge,” he said.
Rouhani's election in June raised hopes in the West that Iran finally is ready to strike a deal. Iran is anxious to win relief from Western-led sanctions, which have crippled its economy; cut its oil export revenues 60 percent; and brought about a devaluation of its rial currency.