|West did not take any significant step in nuclear talks: Leader||
TEHRAN – Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the Western powers did not take any significant step to help resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program at the recent talks in Kazakhstan.
The Leader made the remarks during a meeting with a number of members of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran on Thursday.
Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) held a new round of nuclear talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan on February 26 and 27, during which the two sides agreed to meet again in the same city for more negotiations on April 5 and 6.
In Almaty, the major powers dropped their demand that Iran shut down its underground uranium enrichment plant at Fordo and insisted instead that Iran suspend enrichment work there and agree to unspecified conditions that would make it hard to quickly resume production. They also said that Iran could continue to produce and keep a small amount of uranium enriched to 20 percent for use in a research reactor that produces medical isotopes, according to the New York Times.
If Tehran agreed to these steps, the major powers said they would suspend some sanctions against Iran, including trade in gold and petrochemicals, and would not impose new sanctions through the United Nations Security Council or the European Union. However, the main oil and financial sanctions would not be loosened.
Ayatollah Khamenei said, “In this meeting, the Westerners did not do anything important that can be interpreted as making a concession, but they acknowledged part of the Iranian nation’s rights only to a small degree.”
To determine if the Westerners were being sincere at the recent meeting, it will be necessary to wait until the next meeting, he stated.
The Leader also said the West was using Iran’s nuclear program as a pretext to impose sanctions on the country, adding that the main reason that the sanctions were imposed was to turn the Iranian people against the Islamic system.
Prior to Ayatollah Khamenei’s address, Assembly of Experts Chairman Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi-Kani delivered a speech in which he announced that the assembly had established a special committee tasked with examining the main issues facing the country.
Deputy Assembly of Experts Chairman Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi also delivered a speech and briefed the Leader on the meeting that the members of the assembly held on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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