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Iran lays out nuke proposal

Updated: 2013-10-16 07:39
( China Daily/Agencies)

Iran on Tuesday laid out a hotly awaited proposal to break the deadlock in talks with world powers over its nuclear program, as China called for pragmatism.

An EU spokesman said the proposal is very useful and Teheran seems willing to engage in negotiations.

The hour-long PowerPoint presentation by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his negotiators was for the first time delivered in English, officials said, underlining a new mood in the often-tense nuclear talks.

The move was seen as a test of a thaw under new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

No details of the proposal - entitled Closing an Unnecessary Crisis, and Opening a New Horizon - emerged from the closed-door talks after an initial session of two and a half hours.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said world powers were receptive to the proposal.

China called for a pragmatic approach for all parties.

"As the new round of talks starts, we urge all parties concerned to step up pragmatic efforts, properly settle differences, search for pragmatic and viable solutions, start a new phase of substantial negotiations and seek early progress," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing.

On the eve of the two-day meeting, Zarif said the plan contained three steps that could settle the long-running nuclear standoff "within a year", but did not elaborate.

Zarif, traveling with his personal doctor as he battles back pain, has said he hopes the talks will sketch out a "roadmap" for higher-level negotiations.

He said the initial step could be achieved "within a month or two, or even less".

Iran's meeting with the European Union-chaired P5+1 group - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany - ends a six-month hiatus over the Islamic republic's refusal to curb uranium enrichment in exchange for easing punishing international sanctions.

It also marks a revival of talks put on ice in the closing months of the presidency of conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Rouhani, who took office in August, has promised transparency on the nuclear program and engagement to eventually lift the trade embargo that is strangling Iran's economy.

EU spokesman Michael Mann underlined the "very different" atmosphere under Zarif's team.

"We have come here with a sense of cautious optimism and a great sense of determination because we believe it's really time now for tangible results," he told reporters in Geneva.

"There are signals from Teheran that they want to engage in these negotiations, that they want to be more transparent. The proof would be if they made real progress," he said.

Xinhua - AFP - Reuters