World Bulletin / News Desk
Iran's negotiations with world powers reached "a turning point" this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Thursday, suggesting a breakthrough was within reach.
"I call it a milestone. It is a turning point in the negotiations," Salehi told Austrian broadcaster ORF in an interview during a visit to the Austrian capital for a United Nations conference.
"We are heading for goals that will be satisfactory for both sides. I am very optimistic and hopeful," he said, according to a German translation of remarks he made in English.
Salehi, who had said on Wednesday he was "very confident" an agreement could be reached, gave no details of the talks in Kazakhstan, but said the fact that discussions would resume in a month showed the process was moving forward.
Salehi said nearly 100 kg (220 lb) of the roughly 250 kg of uranium Iran has enriched to 20 percent purity so far had been processed into fuel plates for the research reactor.
"So far we have produced two of these plates per month. In the future we want to produce three, four or perhaps even more fuel plates every month. This is how we want to reduce the supply of 20 percent enriched uranium in the medium term," he said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called the talks "useful" and said that a serious engagement by Iran could lead to a comprehensive deal in a decade-old dispute that has threatened to trigger a new Middle East war.
Salehi played down in the APA interview the effect of international sanctions on Iran.
"Sanctions disturb the economy but cannot weaken it in a lasting way. One thing should be said to the West: whenever the sanctions were tightened, we developed new methods to cope with the consequences of the sanctions," he said.Last Mod: 01 Mart 2013, 09:48