Press Association: Foreign Secretary William Hague has called for “urgent, concrete steps” from Iran to resolve international concerns over its nuclear ambitions after two days of talks broke up without significant progress.
The Press Association
Foreign Secretary William Hague has called for “urgent, concrete steps” from Iran to resolve international concerns over its nuclear ambitions after two days of talks broke up without significant progress.
Mr Hague warned of “intensified” sanctions if Tehran failed to respond seriously to the step-by-step process designed to restore international confidence which was set out by negotiators from the E3+3 group – Britain, the US, France, Germany, Russia and China.
The E3+3 team met representatives of the Tehran regime in the Iraqi capital Baghdad for the second round of talks which have revived hopes of a breakthrough after years of stalemate.
But the only agreement to emerge from the discussions was a date for further talks in Moscow on June 18 and19.
Reports suggested that the Iranians at times appeared close to pulling out of the talks in frustration over the international community’s refusal to scale back economic sanctions, including embargoes on the sale of oil.
The E3+3 negotiators failed to secure agreement on the key demand for Tehran to halt the production of 20% enriched uranium, which Iran says it needs for its sole medical research reactor, but which Western leaders fear could be turned into warhead-grade material within months.
The international community has long suspected that Tehran is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons capability but Iran insists that its programme is intended only for civil energy production, which requires 3.5% enriched uranium.
In a statement issued by the Foreign Office in London, Mr Hague said it was clear that “significant differences” remained between the two sides.
“Talks between Iran and world powers in Baghdad have concluded with limited progress,” said Mr Hague. “While there was serious discussion on the substance of Iran’s nuclear programme, including the key concerns around 20% enrichment, significant differences remain.
“The E3+3 went united and ready to take concrete steps to build confidence. In line with the reciprocal, step-by-step approach agreed at Istanbul, we set out in detail the steps we hoped Iran would take and how we would respond. We are still waiting for Iran to engage fully on these.”