|Salehi optimistic about nuclear talks||
TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has expressed optimism over Iran’s nuclear talks with the world powers due to be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on April 5 and 6.
“We have witnessed signals that the other side is acting in good faith,” Salehi told a joint press conference with the foreign minister of the African country of Benin, Nassirou Bako Arifari, in Tehran on Sunday.
“We hope they continue to do so,” Salehi added.
Iran and six major powers known as the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) held talks to resolve disputes over Tehran’s nuclear program in Almaty on February 26 and 27.
The two sides agreed to convene again in Almaty in April after holding expert-level talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul on March 17-18.
“We have reiterated that we are ready for talks, and we are never seeking confrontation. However, we firmly defend our independence and national sovereignty,” he noted.
When a reporter said that the provisions of the statement by the 5+1 group didn’t seem so promising, Salehi said, “Whatever I say, is based on facts...I cannot say all the stuff now.”
He added, “What is being circulated in the media is not accurate.”
The Iranian official also commented on bilateral ties with Benin, saying that the two countries are making efforts to expand economic relations, particularly in the area of energy, which the African country is short of.
Salehi expressed hope that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his periodical visits to Africa, would visit Benin next month.
The top Beninese diplomat said that the two countries have enjoyed good political relation for decades and described as “very good” the relations with Iran.
Bako Arifari also called for expansion of ties with Iran in economic and technical areas.
He expressed hope that Benin can use Iran’s expertise in producing electricity to tackle its problems.
He also said that Benin will open an interest section in Tehran this year, which will be promoted to an embassy in the near future.
He also expressed pleasure over the resumption of talks between Iran and the 5+1 group and said that he hoped the negotiations would yield fair and constructive results.
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