WASHINGTON – Iran is continuing to signal its readiness to hold serious talks to end the nuclear crisis.
In an interview Wednesday to the Bloomberg news agency Iran's Ambassador to the UN Mohammad Khazaee said talks in Kazakhstan three weeks ago marked a “turning point” where the US and five other world powers seemed “more realistic” about Iran’s bottom-line position that it has a right to enrich uranium for peaceful use.
- Peres: I believe Obama, but Iran may be 'bluffing'
- Obama: Time for Iran to settle nuclear dispute
- MI chief: Iran greatest threat to Israel's security
The Iranian ambassador explained that the key to a deal would be international acceptance of what his government sees as its right under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium, even at the 5 percent level needed to fuel power plants.
Talks in Kazakhstan (Photo: AP)
According to Bloomberg, US officials have privately said there will be pressure on the Obama administration to accept Iran’s uranium enrichment at low levels under UN safeguards.
Israel and some non-proliferation specialists have said Iran must be denied any domestic enrichment capability - a position Khazaee said is a non-starter.
As Obama makes his way to Israel for a visit where talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu are set to focus on the Iranian threat, the Iranian envoy said that “Israelis every day are threatening Iran” and called on Obama to urge Israel to give up its undeclared nuclear arsenal.
He said Israel has nothing to fear from Iran. “Iranians have not, and they do not intend to attack any country, any nation in the region,” Khazaee noted.
In the interview Khazaee also discounted the possibility of an Israeli strike.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen because there are even some wise people in the region that they know that they should not play with the lion in the region, which is Iran,” he said.
Technical experts from Iran and the six world powers held talks in Istanbul on March 18 to discuss details of the plan.
In a recent interview with Israel’s Channel 2 television, Obama said Iran is more than “a year or so” away from being able to build a nuclear weapon and repeated that “all options are on the table” if diplomacy fails.
Talks are to resume April 5 in Almaty.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop