Germany: Iran must decide by next month

Officials from the US, France, Britain, Russia, China, and Germany discuss Iranian nuclear program.

Jalili 248.88 (photo credit: )
Jalili 248.88
(photo credit: )
Six countries trying to address concerns about Iran's nuclear program met in Germany on Wednesday, and while the German government said it has received no official word yet from Teheran, it expects Iran to resume talks in another month. "With reference to Dr Jalili's statement this week that Iran is ready to resume talks, I expect Iran to respond to the offer of talks [made] in April by agreeing to meet before the UNGA (UN General Assembly)," Reuters quoted Volker Stanzel, political director for the German Foreign Ministry, as saying. The meeting was taking place at an undisclosed location near Frankfurt and involved political directors - Foreign Ministry officials below ministerial level - from the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany. Earlier, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner told reporters no concrete decisions were expected to come out of the meeting. "It is much more a chance for joint assessment of the situation and to consult on possible negotiating options in the coming months," Ploetner said. On Tuesday, Iran's main nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, told reporters his nation would present new proposals and will open talks "in order to ease common concerns in the international arena." Ploetner acknowledged media reports of Jalili's statement, but said such offers must be formally presented to the governments involved before they could be taken into consideration. "So far we have not received any such communication from the Iranian government through official channels," Ploetner said. "Consequently ... from our point of view nothing has changed." "We hope that the press reports will be followed by something of substance at an official level." Western nations and others worry Iran is moving toward development of nuclear warheads. But Iranian leaders say the country only seeks reactors to produce electricity. In its latest report, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it has pressed Iran to clarify the purpose of its uranium enrichment activities and reassure the world that it's not trying to build an atomic weapon. The agency acknowledged, however, that Iran has been producing nuclear fuel at a slower rate and has allowed UN inspectors broader access to its main nuclear complex in the southern city of Natanz and to a reactor in Arak. The six countries have also been discussing the possibility of holding a high-level meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, scheduled to take place on September 23-25. That would dovetail with US President Barack Obama's deadline for Iran to agree to nuclear talks or risk harsher sanctions. Last year, Teheran was offered economic incentives in exchange for suspending uranium enrichment, but Iran's leaders responded by saying they would never give up control of the production of nuclear fuel.