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Iran nuke talks likely to fail

Prominent Iranian politicians and analysts are offering a gloomy assessment of upcoming nuclear talks with the US and other world powers, insisting that Iran will not agree to any significant cuts to its nuclear programme.

world Updated: Mar 17, 2012 00:01 IST
The Washington Post

Prominent Iranian politicians and analysts are offering a gloomy assessment of upcoming nuclear talks with the US and other world powers, insisting that Iran will not agree to any significant cuts to its nuclear programme.

They say it is highly unlikely that Iran would accept even a temporary halt in its production of enriched uranium, a key demand by Western countries during previous negotiations.

Some said recent sanctions and military threats have made Iranian leaders even more determined to continue enriching uranium, despite the worsening toll on Iran's currency and oil industry.

"There will be no retreat whatsoever on our rights," said Hossein Sheikholeslami, a former Iranian ambassador to Syria and once a leader of the student movement that took 52 US Embassy workers hostage in 1979. "They impose unlawful sanctions on us, and now they want us to retreat. No way."

It was not clear whether the assessments - made in interviews with a wide range of current and former politicians, diplomats and analysts - reflect the official view of Iranian leaders preparing to meet with negotiators from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

The six-country bloc agreed last month to an Iranian request to resume nuclear talks after a lull of 14 months.

Western officials also have played down expectations for the talks, which are not yet scheduled, although some suggested that the pessimism in Tehran could be a bargaining tactic.

On Wednesday, Iranian officials dispatched a letter to the European Union reiterating the government's desire for a diplomatic solution.

In an exclusive partnership with The Washington Post.