Jan 25, 2014, 7:23 PM
News Code: 2626463
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Veteran diplomat calls for direct talks with US

Tehran, Jan 25, IRNA – Hossein Mousavian, former member of Iranian negotiating team on Saturday called for direct talks with US administration to address mutual concerns.

In an interview with Iranian Diplomacy website, Mousavian said direct talks with the United States have currently reached its highest level between the two governments citing negotiations between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry and phone contact between the two presidents on the sidelines on the 68th UN General Assembly in New York.

Mousavian said that former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly declared he was ready to directly engage in unconditional talks with the US – something far more than Rouhani’s phone contact with his US president Barack Obama – but the US side refused.

Mousavian who formerly served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany underlined the necessity of direct talks between Tehran and Washington to remove concerns of both sides in parallel with negotiations underway between Iran and the P5+1.

Iran and the US support the current Iraqi government and are the most influential regional and international powers, Mousavian said, adding that the same is in Afghanistan.

“On the humanitarian crisis in Syria, too, Iran and the US play a key role and the two countries can resolve the issues to bring stability and security to the Persian Gulf.”

He reiterated that withdrawal of US forces from Persian Gulf and providing security of the sea by regional countries are not possible without direct talks between Iran and the US.

He predicted that any direct talks between Tehran and Washington would face opposition from certain Arab states and added that Israel is using all its potentials to halt the course of improving relations between Iran and the United States.

The veteran Iranian diplomat said, despite all pressures, Obama is serious to pursue his strategy towards Iran and is determined to break the nuclear deadlock.

Mousavian said that the members of Persian Gulf Cooperation Council are divided over Iran and this is a reality of which the Iranian government can take advantage.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the former member of Iranian nuclear negotiating team said that enrichment is the main point of difference between Iran and the West about the national nuclear program.

He said that in nuclear talks during former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, although most of the Europeans were ready to accept Iran’s right to limited enrichment under special control, the US sought to halt enrichment in Iran that led the negotiations to fail.

Mousavian said that the change in US previous position toward Iran and recognition of Iran’s right to enrichment led to the deal between the two sides in Geneva on November 24.

He said that Barack Obama as US president, John Kerry as secretary of state and Chack Hagel as defense secretary in the White House have helped improve Iran-US ties.

He said that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, head of Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani and head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali-Akbar Salehi who are presently main Iranian decision-makers on the country’s nuclear program after the Supreme Leader have changed the negative atmosphere against Iran in the international arena.

The P5+1 had reached the conclusion to accept Iran’s right to enrichment during former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mousavian said, adding that for making a deal with Tehran, they were waiting for the proper time and opportunity which he said were provided by elections in the US and Iran.