ABC News reported that Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, identified as a senior member of Iran’s negotiating team, made a statement on Sunday that Tehran will bring a new proposal to the talks intended to remove any doubts that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful. Araghchi told Iran’s student news agency, ISNA, that his nation should “enter into a trust-building path with the West.”
“In their point of view trust-building means taking some steps on the Iranian nuclear issue, and in our view trust is made when the sanctions are lifted,” said Araghchi. ABC News explained that Araghchi’s reference was to sanctions imposed by the UN, as well as other international economic sanctions imposed because of Tehran's refusal to conform its nuclear activities to international standards.
Iran’s negotiating team will be led by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (shown at right), a veteran diplomat who was a member of the team that negotiated a cease-fire with Iraq in 1988.
A report in VOA (Voice of America) quoted a statement from Secretary of State John Kerry, who said that the upcoming talks are an indication that the window for diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear program is “cracking open.”
VOA also reported that “world powers called for Iran to give up its existing stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity and send it abroad. Uranium of that purity is a short technical step away from being converted to weapons-grade material.”
The latter statement is patently false, which many will find disturbing, since VOA is the official external broadcast institution of the U.S. government. As The New American reported in the article, “U.S. Intelligence: No Evidence Iran Building Nukes”:
Of course, it is widely known that Iran is enriching uranium. The regime boasts about it. But nuclear missiles and weapons-grade material require enrichment of around 90 percent — a long way away from the less-than-20-percent purity the Iranian government is known to be working on.
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Photo of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif speaking to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton in Geneva: AP Images