A senior Iranian diplomat says the proposals recently tabled by the group of six major world powers over the issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program incorporate more logical elements which are closer to Tehran’s views. “The proposals of the P5+1 (permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) at the meeting in [the Kazakh city of] Almaty have become closer to the proposals of the Islamic Republic of Iran and they are more logical and realistic in nature,” said Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Oceania Affairs Abbas Araqchi at a meeting with foreign ambassadors to Tehran. The latest round of the talks between Iran and the P5+1 was held in Almaty on February 26-27. The two sides agreed to convene again in the Kazakh city on April 5-6 to continue the talks after holding “expert-level” talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul on March 17-18.
Noting that different aspects of the P5+1 are still unclear, Araqchi stated, “Therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran expects that the groundwork will be laid for achieving a consensus at the next Almaty session in April 2013, after [Iran] witnesses proper goodwill and flexibility from the other side.”On Thursday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei pointed to the West’s track record of disregarding its own agreements and statements and noted that the next round of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group will be a test of Western sincerity. After the Almaty meeting, both Iran and the P5+1 group expressed hope and optimism about the prospect of their comprehensive negotiations. On February 28, Reuters quoted an unnamed Western diplomat as saying that, "This was more constructive and more positive than previous meetings because they were really focusing on the proposal on the table." In an interview with Austrian broadcaster ORF on March 1, Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi described the latest round of the talks as a “milestone” and a “turning point in the negotiations.” ASH/MA