World powers, Iran agree to extend talks
Almaty, Kazakhstan (4E) – The six world powers and Iran concluded their two-day talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan Wednesday with an agreement to hold further meetings in March and April.
The agreement was reached after the so-called P5+1 offered to ease demands for curbs in Iran’s nuclear program and allow the country to use gold and other precious metals in dealing with other countries.
In exchange, Iran agreed to suspend operations at its key nuclear plant at Fordo and eliminate most of its uranium stockpile that is near weapons grade.
Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili viewed the offer of France, Germany, the US, China Russia and Britain as a positive step.
In the next meeting, nuclear experts from both sides will meet in Istanbul, Turkey on March 18, according to a joint statement of European Union foreign policy chief and negotiator Catherine Ashton and Jalili. Political directors from both sides will then reconvene in Almaty on April 5.
Reacting to the P5+1 and Iran negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Jerusalem Wednesday that military sanctions should be imposed on Iran if it continues its nuclear program. Netanyahu said military sanction is the only way Iran will heed the international community’s demand to stop its nuclear program.
Iran is enriching uranium to a level of 20 percent, just 70 percent shy from the level that makes it a weapons grade material. The European Union, U.S., U.K., France and Germany suspect that Iran will use it to build a nuclear bomb, but Tehran denies this saying its nuclear program is for medical and energy purposes.