Iran asks China, Russia for support in nuclear talks against 'excessive demands'

On eve of Geneva talks, Rouhani calls Putin, Xi and says while "significant progress" has been made in last round of nuclear talks, "excessive demands could complicate the process"; Iran FM: Israel trying to scuttle talks.

Rouhani and Puting 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Viktor Korotayev CVI/MA)
Rouhani and Puting 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Viktor Korotayev CVI/MA)
On the eve of the resumption of nuclear talks in Geneva, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has asked China and Russia for their support against "excessive demands of some countries."
Nuclear talks in Geneva are due to resume on Wednesday when Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif meets with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. On Thursday and Friday, the Iranian delegation will meet with representatives from the P5+1 countries - that include Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
In phones calls this week, the Iranian president told Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin that "significant progress" has been made at the last round of negotiations, but that "excessive demands could complicate the process towards a win-win agreement."
While Rouhani did not specify what the "excessive demands" were, French President Francois Hollande said during a visit to Israel on Sunday that Iran must take four "essential" steps.
"First, put all the Iranian nuclear installations under international supervision right now. Second, suspend enrichment to 20 percent. Third, reduce the existing stockpile of enriched uranium. Finally, halt construction of the Arak (heavy water) plant," Hollande said.
The French president stressed these founds were "essential to guarantee any agreement."
Rouhani also spoke to British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday, in a phone call initiated by the British premier.
"The prime minister became the first British prime minister to call the Iranian president in more than a decade today when he spoke to President Rouhani this afternoon, ahead of this week's nuclear negotiations in Geneva," Downing Street said in a statement, according to AFP.
"Both leaders agreed that significant progress had been made in the recent Geneva negotiations and that it was important to seize the opportunity presented by the further round of talks which get underway tomorrow," the statement continued.
Additionally, the British prime minister "underlined the necessity of Iran comprehensively addressing the concerns of the international community about their nuclear program, including the need for greater transparency."
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said there was "every possibility" that the next round of nuclear talks would result in a deal despite what Tehran said were Israeli attempts to scuttle the process in Geneva.
"I am willing to accept serious progress instead of an agreement but I think that with the political will we can reach an agreement," AFP quote Zarif as saying.
However, Iran's chief negotiator accused Israel of seeking to sabotage the negotiation process as leaders in Jerusalem have been adamant against any deal that would offer an easing of sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limited nuclear concessions.
"Statements coming out of Israel indicate they are not interested in finding solution, they've been trying to push for problems," AFP quoted him as saying in Rome before flying to Geneva.
"They have been trying so hard to torpedo the process... Why is it they do not want this result?," he added.