Iranian FM: 'New Atmosphere' in Nuke Talks
By Margaret Besheer
United Nations
02 July 2008

Iran's foreign minister says there is a new atmosphere in talks centered on his country's controversial nuclear program. In remarks to reporters at the United Nations, Manouchehr Mottaki said there have been "positive and constructive" developments in talks with the six major powers, raising hopes a diplomatic solution could be on the horizon. From U.N. headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more.

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Manouchehr Mottaki, 19 Jun 2008
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says his government is reviewing the latest package of trade and economic incentives presented last week by EU policy chief Javier Solana and representatives of five of the six major powers involved in the negotiations.

He is heard through a translator.

"These examinations are happening now, and very soon I will respond to the letter given to me by the six foreign ministers and I hope we will be able to enter a new process with a multi-faceted approach in mind," he said.

Mottaki said the approach adopted by Solana and the delegation, as well as the substance of their talks has paved the way for what he called a "new atmosphere."

The six powers - Britain, France, the United States, Russia, China and Germany - have demanded that Iran suspend uranium enrichment that could be used to fuel a nuclear weapon. Mottaki would not say directly when asked whether Iran has changed its position and would comply.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad expressed some skepticism as to whether there is a real shift in Iranian policy.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to the UN, at UN headquarters, 28 Feb 2008
"We will have to wait and see if there is an actual change or is there an effort to sugarcoat a hardline policy, a defiant policy, that has characterized Iran's policy with regard to the demands the world has made, the Security Council has made, repeatedly from Iran, that it should it suspend enrichment and reprocessing activities," he said.

Earlier, President Bush repeated his stance that all options remain on the table regarding Iran, but that he has made it clear to all parties his administration's first preference is to solve this issue diplomatically. But he warned Iran if it does not stop enriching uranium, it will be isolated and suffer economic hardship.

Tehran has rejected accusations that it is working to develop a weapon and says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
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