Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the P5+1 group, have met in a follow-up to their previous negotiations on Iran’s nuclear energy program.
The meeting took place in the Turkish city of Istanbul late on Tuesday.
"While it was not a formal negotiating round, it was a useful and constructive meeting,” said Ashton’s spokesman Michael Mann.
Ashton and Jalili last met in Moscow in June. At the heart of the Moscow negotiations was Iran’s nuclear energy program, with Tehran standing firm on its inalienable right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.
The Moscow talks were followed by a day-long meeting between the deputies to Jalili and Ashton, Ali Baqeri and Helga Schmid, held in Istanbul on July 24.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Kaveh Afrasiabi, author and political scientist from Boston, to further talk over the issue. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Mr. Afrasiabi, why is it that we have Iran, a Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory, having full cooperation with the IAEA at the highest level while Israel which is not a member of the NPT simply and easily threatening Iran with war and aggression?
There is a long history to that that perhaps goes back to the founding of the Islamic Revolution and the major geostrategic setbacks that that revolution has to [deal with] vis-à-vis American power as well as Israeli interests in the region.
And that saga has continued until today and we find that for various reasons, this has escalated to the point now that Iran has been subjected to these comprehensive Western sanctions and the pressure that the state of Israel is exerting on Washington and other Western capitals to further sanction the regime and also to play with the military [costs].
Of course to investigate the cause or roots of this kind of behavior on the part of the states of Israel which has turned a complete blind eye to the plight of the Palestinians and the policy of the land grab has continued unabated on the part of the Israeli expansionist government and this is a good and convenient excuse for Israel to deflect public attentions from its problems with the Palestinian people as well as its Arab neighbors whose lands it has occupied since 1867 in defiance of the UN resolution and to focus on the so-called Iran’s nuclear threat in order to gain its objectives and it has made a lot of challenges and we know about the problems that the Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu has encountered with the Obama administration has refused to set a redline and so on and so forth.
It is interesting to know how these states who possess nuclear weapons appear before the public eye?
I think some opinion samples in Europe for example that many Europeans, the average European public, consider Israel as one of the primary threats to global peace and security.
Unfortunately, because of the overwhelming support for Israel in the US media and in the mainstream politics, that view has not been shared by the American public; although there is a lot of [criticism] about what is the result and so forth.
But I would say that at this point in terms of the overall global public opinion, the Israelis are on the defensive; there had been recent pressure by the IAEA as well as in the latest NPT review conference to bring Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the public scrutiny subjected to inspections and so forth and the Israeli politicians are unhappy about that.
They are also unhappy that there are some grave voices in American public that point us to the fact that what Israel is doing is not parallel to the American interests in the region. So I think that these are unhappy with the state of Israel and signs of discretion are [really there].