Iran and six world powers are meeting in Turkey at talks which include the discussion of Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Iran has previously refused to discuss demands that it curb nuclear activities that could lead to the manufacture of the fissile core of nuclear warheads.
Five permanent UN Security Council members – the US, Russia, China, Britain and France – plus Germany want Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment programme, but Tehran has repeatedly said that the issue is not up for discussion.
The two sides sat down at the meeting with no sign that they were ready to budge from widely differing positions revealed at the first round of the talks which were held in Geneva last month.
Instead, Iranian officials are pushing an agenda that covers just about everything except its nuclear programme: global disarmament, Israel’s suspected nuclear arsenal, and Tehran’s concerns about US military bases in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.
“We want to discuss the fundamental problems of global politics at Istanbul talks,” said Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili.
Meanwhile, president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested any push to restrict the meeting to Iran’s nuclear programme would fail.
“They employed all their might and tried hard to prevent Iran from going nuclear. But Iran went nuclear and there will be no way back,” he was quoted as saying on Iranian TV.
A diplomat familiar with the talks says the six countries will seek to nudge Iran towards acknowledging the need to reduce worries that the Islamic Republic might turn its enrichment programme to making weapons.
Tehran denies such aspirations, insisting it wants only to make nuclear fuel.