Iran should discuss its disputed atomic activities in a new meeting with six major governments no later than the middle of next month, a senior Russian diplomat said on Tuesday in comments reported by Reuters.
Iranian diplomats have held a series of meetings with counterparts from six other countries -- China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- but the discussions have done little to address international fears that Tehran's ostensibly nonmilitary nuclear program is aimed at establishing a weapon capability. The sides most recently met in April in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Moscow would press to arrange a new nuclear meeting immediately once Iran's newly inaugurated president appoints a new senior envoy to the discussions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said to Interfax.
President Hassan Rouhani had yet to name his choice for that position as of Monday, despite having unveiled a roster of other high-level nominations apparently calibrated to satisfy both moderate and hard-line lawmakers who must sign off on the picks, Reuters reported separately. Tehran's senior atomic envoy would play a role in setting the tenor of new multilateral talks, the news service said.
"This [upcoming] round, given all the circumstances, must be held by mid-September. This cannot be delayed any longer," Ryabkov said.
"As soon as the configuration of the new Iranian delegation is clear, the group of six can quickly make a proposal and organize for this round in the next four to five weeks," he said. "There is a lot of reason for optimism."
Rouhani on Tuesday said Washington's "practical policy and strategy" are of paramount importance to Tehran. "If the United States shows goodwill and intentions ... and without any secret agenda, if they approach this way, then the way will be open," Reuters quoted him as saying.
“We are ready to enter without wasting time in negotiations that are substantive and serious," he added in remarks quoted by Bloomberg on Tuesday.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.