Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, has said his country is ready to start "serious talks" with six world powers on Wednesday. Iran submitted a written response to the demand by the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany to suspend uranium enrichment.
Iran denies Western claims that it is developing a nuclear weapons program, maintaining that it has a right to civilian nuclear technology. Supreme leader Ali Khamenei made it clear on Monday that Iran would reject international pressure.
The US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany have offered Iran a package of incentives - including the offer of help with civilian nuclear technology. The details of Tehran's written response have not been made public, but Iranian officials previously have said their response would address ambiguities over its right to nuclear technology.
It is well known that enriched uranium is used as fuel for nuclear reactors, but highly enriched uranium can also be used to make nuclear bombs. Iran points out that as a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) it is entitled to a nuclear power program and says it has broken no rule though Western powers accuse Iran of concealing an enrichment program, and Washington has refused to rule out military action.
That Iran is “talking” to the West is a good thing. It is important and the Bush Administration with its UN Security Council allies should engage Iran. It has been maintained in prior posts the importance and support of active engagement of Iran. Iran does deserve the right to a nuclear power program and the West must support this. If not, the reaction might be the very accusations currently being made by the West.