Iran and six key governments signaled early optimism on the first day of a closely watched nuclear meeting on Tuesday, the state-run Fars News Agency reported.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif opened the two-day discussion in Geneva with a slideshow briefing thought to detail a proposed timeline for trust-boosting steps over its disputed nuclear activities, the London Guardian reported. The sides are seeking to resolve international fears that secret nuclear-bomb ambitions are guiding Iran’s nuclear program; Tehran insists the atomic effort is nonmilitary in nature.
“There is a positive atmosphere. … The first reactions were good,” Reuters quoted Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas as saying after Zarif’s morning discussion.
Undisclosed details from the foreign minister’s talk — titled “Closing an unnecessary crisis: Opening new horizons” — could include proposals to restrict certain Iranian nuclear activities, according to the Guardian. In return, Tehran would likely expect the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany to curb international economic penalties and affirm the Persian Gulf power’s right to enrich uranium, the newspaper said.
A spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Zarif’s discussion was “very useful.”
The top Iranian diplomat met one-on-one with Ashton after multilateral talks ended for the day, Fars News reported. Ashton has communicated with Iran on behalf of the six other negotiating powers: China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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"A new cycle of escalation on the Korean Peninsula looks set to begin this week when the U.S. and South Korea kick off annual military exercises that have a history of enraging Pyongyang." The long-planned drills, set to last ten days, "will test whether North Korea’s apparent easing of its immediate threat to Guam proves durable—or if the de-escalation was really a backdown at all."