Iran to insist on enrichment right at nuclear talks: Jalili

Published: Updated:

Iran will insist that its right to enrich uranium is recognized in talks this week with world powers on its disputed nuclear drive, Tehran’s chief negotiator said Thursday.

“We think that they can open up tomorrow’s (Friday’s) talks with one phrase -- and that is to accept Iran’s right, particularly it’s right to enrich,” Saeed Jalili said in a speech at an Almaty university ahead of the negotiations in the Kazakh city.

“We hope that in Almaty, they do not repeat the bitter experience they have gone through in the 34 years of our revolution and that they make the right conclusion this spring,” he said referring to the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the shah.

Jalili also appeared to downplay the chances of a one-on-one meeting with chief U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman -- talks Washington has been seeking for years.

“What our nation is expecting is for the U.S. to correct its behavior, and not in just words, and tomorrow in Almaty they are in for another test,” said Jalili.

“Those who come to negotiations should come with logic and not threats, saying that all the options are on the table. This is contrary to common sense.”

Iran and the so-called P5+1 nations -- the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany -- will sit down in Almaty from Friday for their fifth round of negotiations in the past two years.

The EU and the U.S. have said that Iran will have to participate and adhere to proposals made at the talks in order for them to succeed.

The EU foreign policy chief said she remains ‘cautiously optimistic’.