Lavrov: West must ease Iran ban as talks proceed

Lavrov: West must ease Iran ban as talks proceed
Thu Sep 26, 2013 19:50:15

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says US-led sanctions against Iran must be removed if improvements are made in resolving West’s standoff over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

“The sanctions were imposed because of the lack of results in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue. If progress is achieved, this must be followed and reciprocated by softening and eventually lifting the sanctions,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Washington Post.

The senior Russian diplomat also described as encouraging the latest remarks by Iranian authorities concerning the resolution of the nuclear dispute.

“So far, what we hear from Tehran is encouraging. They confirmed the need to continue negotiation, they expressed their desire and willingness to be more transparent and to be more concentrated on reaching a result. Provided, of course, that the reciprocity is there,” Lavrov said.

On Wednesday, Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran is prepared for “serious” negotiations over its nuclear energy program.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to hold serious talks and we hope the other side, too, is as serious in the negotiations,” Zarif said in a meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on the sidelines of the 68th annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The French foreign minister, for his part, expressed hope that the upcoming talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany over Tehran’s nuclear energy program would be constructive.

The Iranian foreign minister and his counterparts from the six countries are scheduled to hold talks in New York on Thursday.

The United States, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian purposes in its nuclear energy program.

Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that the Iranian nuclear program has been diverted toward military objectives.


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