US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “there is still time for diplomacy” to resolve the Iran nuclear dispute, as an Iranian official said his nation plans to offer “new initiatives” at talks with world powers in Istanbul on April 14.
Speaking Wednesday at a meeting of the Group of Eight foreign ministers in Washington, Clinton said the talks provide an opportunity for Iran to “address seriously the international community’s concerns about its nuclear program.”
“It is urgent that the Iranians come to the table to establish an environment conducive to achieving concrete results through a sustained process,” she said.
Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National
Security Council, was quoted by the
official IRNA news agency as saying Wednesday that “Iran’s representatives will participate in the negotiations with new
“We hope that the P5+1 countries will also
enter talks with constructive approaches,” he said.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security
Council plus Germany, the so-called P5+1, are set to hold their first
talks in 15 months. The previous round, also in Istanbul, ended without
The stakes for this round of talks are high because both Israel and the US have spoken about the potential for military action as soon as this year to stop what they say are Iran’s advancing efforts to develop nuclear weapons capabilities.
A senior Russian lawmaker in Moscow said Wednesday that Iran’s talks with six world powers over its nuclear program are not a “last-ditch attempt” to reach a peaceful settlement.
“That’s the position of the Obama administration, and I don’t think our position is the same,” said Alexei Pushkov, head of the lower house of parliament’s foreign affairs committee. “We believe that talks must continue until you reach the desired result.”
Russia is seeking to persuade Iran to provide “convincing proof” that it’s not developing nuclear weapons, he said.
Iran, the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is already grappling with restrictions imposed by the US and European Union on its trade, financial and energy sectors. Crude oil for May delivery rose $1.68 to settle at $102.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 3.9 percent this year.
The oil market is going to stay “very volatile” because of the situation with Iran, Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said at a conference yesterday in New York.