Iran has convened a meeting with world powers in Istanbul in search of a diplomatic solution to the nation’s nuclear work. The Islamic Republic considers the international sanctions that target its energy and finance industries as ‘illegal and irrational’.
The core issue in the negotiations is whether Iran will stop enriching uranium, and move current stockpiles out of the country to show that it is not planning to produce atomic weapons.
Western powers contend that Iran is hiding its nuclear weapons programme, with US and Israel refusing to discount the possibility of military strikes on Tehran’s atomic installations.
Members of the P5+1 group (Chinese, French, German, Russian, British and American) will meet on Wednesday with their Iranian counterparts to discuss unresolved issues.
“We hope Iran will seize the opportunity of this meeting and show a willingness to take concrete steps to urgently meet the concerns of the international community, to build confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and to meet its international obligations,” Catherine Ashton, European Union foreign policy chief, said.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps fired long-range missiles as part of war games targeting potential enemies. Tehran has warned it will close the Strait of Hormuz; a vital passage to oil tankers linked to countries applying the embargo, in retaliation to the latest oil embargo.
The increased tensions in the Gulf have caused oil prices to rise. Brent for August settlement traded above $100 a barrel for the first time since 11 June.
The P5+1 negotiators have said they want Iran to stop uranium-enrichment work, shut down the Fordo atomic facility and ship out stockpiled enriched nuclear materials. Iran’s stand, however, is to seek recognition for its right to enrich uranium, lifting of sanctions, increased atomic-technology transfer and a regional security accord.