World Powers See Progress on Iran With New Nuclear Offer

The five United Nations Security Council permanent members and Germany anticipate making progress with a new offer to Iran to resolve the dispute about its nuclear program in talks next week.

“We will make an updated offer that will contain new substantive elements,” the French Foreign Ministry said in an e-mailed answer to questions today, adding it wants to see “a real exchange, leading to concrete results.” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters in Brazil that his country is anticipating “progress but no breakthrough.”

Stalled multilateral negotiations on Iran’s nuclear work are scheduled to resume in Kazakhstan on Feb. 26. The last round of talks between Iran and world powers, held in Moscow in June, failed to yield results. The multinational group asked the Islamic Republic to suspend production of 20 percent enriched uranium while Iran pressed for relief from financial and trade sanctions imposed because of its nuclear program.

The offer will contain significant new elements, a Western diplomat told reporters in London yesterday, asking not to be more closely identified and without giving further details.

Israel has warned that it may carry out military strikes to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capacity. The U.S., while backing diplomacy, says it doesn’t rule out using force to achieve the same goal.

‘Better Prepared’

The six powers negotiating with the country are counting on Iran coming to the meeting “better prepared in terms of conducting a real process of finding a common platform,” Ryabkov said in Brasilia. The new offer contains a gradual approach starting with confidence-building measures, according to the French Foreign Ministry.

Iran said Feb. 19 it can ease western states’ concern over its nuclear activities if they fully recognize its right to operate a civilian nuclear program. The negotiating states are known as the P5+1.

If the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China “recognize our full rights for peaceful nuclear energy, this will show their goodwill,” the Persian Gulf state’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, told reporters in Tehran. “As for us, we will offer ways to remove concerns” that the nuclear program may have a military dimension.