Iran's nuclear program talks handicapped by lack of trust

Oct. 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM

LONDON, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Western leaders have reason to be optimistic over Iran but there may be a trust deficit on both sides, a former British foreign secretary said.

Iranian delegates met Wednesday with their Western counterparts in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss a long-standing impasse over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reached out to members of the international community ahead of the talks in an effort to allay their concerns.

Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told CNN in an interview broadcast Tuesday there was a sense Western powers could "do business" with the Iranian president.

Rouhani took office in August. He ran as a moderate when compared to his political counterparts. Straw said that, unlike some of his predecessors, Rouhani has strong support from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV said a nuclear negotiating package on "new horizons" remained confidential but could pave the way to more nuclear inspections in Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was quoted by the BBC as saying nuclear diplomacy requires "a lot of time and care," however.

Straw said there was a trust deficit hanging over nuclear negotiations in Geneva.

"There are people, particularly in the United States, who don't trust the Iranians," he said. "But there are also plenty in Iran who regardless of their politics, for very, very good reasons, don't trust the Americans and to a degree don't trust the British either."

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