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Iran calls West to task on nuclear row

Oct. 18, 2013 at 11:48 AM

TEHRAN, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The onus is on Western negotiators to show they have the political will needed to resolve the impasse over Iran's nuclear program, an Iranian ambassador said.

Two days of multilateral talks in Geneva this week on Iran's nuclear program were described jointly by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton as "substantive."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has sought to ally international concerns over a nuclear program that Iran says is for peaceful purposes. Mohammad Khazaei, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, said Western powers need to respond with a sense of good will of their own.

"If the opposite sides, too, have the political will and show in practice that they recognize the Iranian nation's nuclear rights to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the negotiations will bear fruit in a short period of time," he told Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV.

Iran said it has a right to an enrichment program as a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran's adversaries say enrichment could take the program down the path toward weaponization.

Khazaei said he was frustrated with Israel because "they have nuclear weapons." Iran, he said, was calling for a nuclear-free Middle East.

Another round of multilateral nuclear talks is set for Nov. 7-8 in Geneva.

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