Michael Mann

Iran must take concrete steps to address international concerns about its nuclear program before the EU considers lifting sanctions, says Michel Mann, spokesman for EU High Representative Catherine Ashton.

Iran’s Foreign Minister said on March 3 that the nuclear talks in Almaty were very positive and he was optimistic that international sanctions on Iran will begin lifting.

Mann confirmed that the G5+1 has offered a revised proposal to Iran in their meeting in Kazakhstan at the end of February, adding: “I am not going to give details about that proposal. We believe that it is a constructive basis for discussions. What we need is for Iran to take forward the positive stance that they apparently showed and turn this into concrete action.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the talks on February 26 and 27 were a turning point in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the G5+1.

“Both parties [at the nuclear talks] feel that the time is now ripe to exit the current situation, and the fact that the Americans are announcing their readiness to enter talks, in my opinion, is different from the past …these requests are different and the situation has also altered, and as the Leader of the Revolution [Ayatollah Khamenei] has stated, if the good faith of the Americans is established, we can consider negotiations, which makes me very optimistic.”

A U.S. diplomat has told the Associated Press that the G5+1’s new proposal included a request for “suspension” of uranium enrichment at the 20-percent level, rather than a complete “halt” to the program, and in addition they have suggested that they can keep an adequate supply of the 20-percent enriched fuel for their research reactor in Iran.

They have offered to ease the sanctions if Iran responds positively to this offer.

Meanwhile, Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has once again called on Iran to allow agency inspectors to visit Parchin Military Base.