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Iran urges West to be ‘serious’ on talks

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast

Iran insists that it has frequently announced readiness for nuclear talks, saying it is expecting the Western side to take a “serious” step towards the resumption of negotiations.

“We have agreed in principle to talks and we have expressed our readiness. It seems the other party is not so serious,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

He said that Iran had put forward a proposal to hold ministerial-level talks with the P5+1 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, but the other side seemed to be not ready for any negotiations.

The spokesperson added that even the country’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki suggested timing for negotiations with the P5+1 between late October and early November.

Now is the time for the other side to show an earnest desire for talks, Mehmanparast went on to say.

He said that Iran is willing to hold talks with the Vienna Group, consisting of the US, France, Russia and the IAEA, within the framework of the May 17 fuel swap declaration.

Iran signed a declaration with Turkey and Brazil on May 17 based on which Tehran agreed to exchange 1,200 kg of its low-enriched uranium on Turkish soil with 20 percent-enriched nuclear fuel.

He added that the Islamic Republic was also ready for talks with the P5+1 — the US, UK, Russia, china and Germany — based on Tehran’s package of proposals or at least the commonalities of the packages put forward by both sides.

In 2009, Iran presented a package of proposals titled “Cooperation for Peace, Justice, and Progress” to the group of P5+1, which included proposals for talks for the establishment of peace and stability among the international community.

President Ahmadinejad’s Lebanon visit

Mehmanparast said that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit Lebanon to hold talks with senior officials as well as political figures.

He said that the visit came at the official invitation of Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and is aimed at deepening political, economic and cultural relations.

He also rejected Israeli efforts to undermine the visit and said Israel is afraid of unity among Middle Eastern countries.

Israel’s “oath of loyalty” bill

Mehmanparast condemned the bill and said the approval of the bill was in violation of international law.

The Israeli cabinet approved the “oath of loyalty” bill on Sunday.

The bill requires non-Jews seeking citizenship to swear loyalty to a “Jewish and democratic state.” The controversial bill and is backed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

China-Turkey maneuver

Mehmanparast said that Iran did not take part in the China-Turkey joint drill. He said that given the fact that Iran enjoys a strategic situation, it only provided facilities for the drill.

Afghanistan

He said that Iran welcomes any measure that would restore stability and security in Afghanistan.

He said that Iran was ready to help the war-torn country overcome its problems regarding its economy, drug trafficking and terrorism.

Caspian Sea summit

He said that the next Caspian Sea summit will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan in November.

Latin America

Mehmanparast said that relations with Latin American countries would continue given the political convergence and high economic potential between Iran and the Americas.

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