|Several steps forward will be taken in Iran-5+1 talks in Baghdad: Salehi||
TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has said that several steps forward will be taken during the next round of talks between Tehran and world powers in Baghdad.
Salehi made the remarks during a joint press conference with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in Tehran on Sunday, which was held after a meeting between the two officials.
Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) held a new round of talks in Istanbul on April 14, breaking a 15-month hiatus in talks, and agreed to meet again in Baghdad on May 23.
Salehi described the Istanbul meeting as positive, adding, “We hope that the Baghdad meeting will be successful. We took one step forward in the Istanbul meeting. God willing, we will take several steps forward in Baghdad.”
The Istanbul talks marked the beginning of the end of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear issue, he stated.
“We hope that we will see the closure of this artificial case,” the Iranian foreign minister stated.
Asked to give details of the talks, Salehi said, “Let’s discuss the details of the issue after the Baghdad meeting. Many analyses and views are being made (and expressed) in this regard. However, it is too soon to comment on the analyses and views.”
Iran-Russia ties developing
Salehi also replied to the question whether the message that Russian Ambassador Levan Dzhagaryan conveyed to him on Saturday was about the Russian proposal for a “step-by-step” plan toward Iran’s nuclear program and whether the initiative will be the basis of the Baghdad talks.
“The message, which was conveyed to me by the Russian ambassador, was about bilateral ties,” the Iranian foreign minister explained.
On July 13, 2011, Russia made a proposal for a step-by-step approach, according to which Iran could address questions about its nuclear program and be rewarded with a gradual easing of sanctions.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on April 25 that Western nations had shown interest in the Russian proposal.
Salehi went on to say that the relations between Tehran and Moscow are “developing” and that “Iran and Russia have common views on many international and regional issues, and this is the reason for constant consultation between Iranian and Russian foreign ministry officials.”
Iran-IAEA talks intended to establish a framework for cooperation
In reply to question about the next round of talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is scheduled to be held in Vienna from May 14 to 15, Salehi said, “Issues that will be discussed in the meeting are in line with the issues that were discussed in Tehran. A framework would be established within which measures that should be taken by both sides would be stated and acted upon.”
IAEA officials met with Iranian officials in Tehran from January 29 to 31 and February 21 to 22.
Iran keen to expand ties with Armenia
Commenting on the relations between Iran and Armenia, Salehi said that the ties are good and Tehran is keen to increase its cooperation with Yerevan.
He also spoke about the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, which has dragged on since ethnic Armenian forces took control of the region during a war in the early 1990s, and reiterated Iran’s stance that the dispute should be resolved peacefully.
Iran is ready to help the two countries settle the issue peacefully, he added.
Both Azerbaijan and Armenia claim the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is mainly populated by Armenians but located in Azerbaijan.
Armenia supports Iran’s peaceful nuclear program
The Armenian foreign minister said that his country supports Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Nalbandian commented on the plan put forward by Kofi Annan, who is the UN-Arab League joint special envoy on Syria, and said that Armenia approves of the initiative.
“We approve of Kofi Annan’s plan, support the international community, and hope that a solution will be found to the current situation in Syria,” he stated.
Annan has put forward a six-point peace plan for ending the one-year crisis in Syria, which calls for a UN-supervised ceasefire by all parties, the withdrawal of soldiers and heavy weapons from cities, and the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Ahmadinejad meets with Nalbandian
In addition, Nalbandian held a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday.
During the meeting, Ahmadinejad said that efforts should be made to enhance bilateral trade.
A number of projects are being implemented to help increase the level of ties between the two countries, he added.
The Armenian foreign minister called for the expansion of relations with the Islamic Republic, saying that Armenia is keen to use Iran’s experiences in various areas.
Nalbandian also met with Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani and the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, on Sunday.
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