EU 3+3, Iran Agree to New Nuclear Talks in Almaty in April

By Nadezhda Khamitova

ALMATY – High-level talks held this week between EU3+3 representatives and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program resulted in an agreement to continue negotiations April 5-6 in Almaty. That meeting will come soon after a technical experts meeting on the topic in Istanbul on March 18-19.

The first day of the Almaty talks was Feb. 26 at the Rixos Hotel and lasted for more than three hours. The following day’s talks were held at the same location in the morning of Feb. 27 and concluded in early afternoon.

The Islamic Republic’s negotiating delegation was headed by Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili. The EU3+3 representatives were led by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.

It was said during the talks that all sides are unanimous in seeking a diplomatic resolution to international concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear programme based on the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) and the full implementation by Iran of the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Board of Governors’ Resolution.

On that note, the main theme of the Almaty talks was the failure of Tehran to meet the demands of the UN Security Council and its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, which gives reason for various parties to express doubts over the peaceful nature of its nuclear

“We collectively have developed a number of constructive suggestions for Iran. Today, we have voiced our concern to the Iranian side, which, in turn, should study and analyze our proposed measures and provide an answer at the next meeting in Almaty,” said the EU’s Ashton.

“As in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow, the EU3+3 remain absolutely unified in seeking a diplomatic resolution to international concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear programme, based on NPT and the full implementation by Iran of UNSC and IAEA Board of Governors’ Resolutions. The EU3+3 has tabled a revised proposal which we believe is balanced and a fair a constructive basis for constructive talks. The offers addresses the international concerns on the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme, but is also responsive for Iranian ideas,” says the EU statement.

“Iran is ready to make specific arrangements with the EU3+3, if other participants also would demonstrate a desire to settle the matter without putting pressure on Iran and making more realistic and constructive suggestions for our country,” said the head of the Iranian delegation.

Jalili said the six powers, including the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, made an attempt in Almaty to “get closer to our viewpoint” also expressed hope that after the Istanbul meetings, the parties will assess the proximity of their positions.

The Iranian statement on this week’s talks said: “We consider these talks a positive step, which could be completed by taking a positive and constructive approach and taking reciprocal steps.”

From the EU3+3 side, Ashton also expressed hope that positive results will be achieved at the next meeting.

The delegations thanked Kazakhstan for its hospitality and efforts to ensure a positive outcome for the talks.

Chairman of the Commission on Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Director of the Nazarbayev Center Kanat Saudabayev commented on the outcome of negotiations.

“The talks in Almaty on Iran’s nuclear program, which ended with an agreement to seek further solutions during an experts’ meeting in Istanbul and to carry out one more round of negotiations in Almaty on April 5-6, marked a considerable step in building confidence and mutual understanding between the parties and in strengthening the understanding of the need to solve this problem exclusively through peaceful, diplomatic means.”

“Kazakhstan was not a direct participant of the talks. However, our country created conditions for its success, and our head of state received the co-chairs of the talks, Mr. Saeed Jalili, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Security Council, and Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and expressed his good wishes,” Saudabayev said.

The negotiations were attended by representatives of the five permanent UN SC member states (China, France, Russia, the UK and the USA), as well as representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Germany and the European Union.

​The event attracted major international press and more than 200 journalists were accredited for the talks. The April Almaty talks are expected to attract similar international attention.
Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in the official statement its readiness to host the next round of talks in April.