The White House gave Iran some cautious praise on Wednesday for what Press Secretary Jay Carney called a new level of "seriousness and substance" in the country's approach to international nuclear talks in Geneva. Iran, coming off of a months-long "charm offensive" from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, is seeking the end of international sanctions against his country in exchange for some sort of deal on the country's nuclear program, which Rouhani insists is peaceful — and Israel is determined to crush.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was also upbeat about the ongoing talks, noting that the "environment was positive," during Iran's presentation to representatives of the P5+1 group: US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, and China. Things went well enough for Iran and the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to release rare a joint statement on the talks, noting its "substantive and forward looking negotiations" and promising a new round of negotiations in early November. In the meantime, the international powers will consider Iran's proposal.
That proposal, Reuters notes, could contain some concessions from Iran on its program. That conjecture seemed to be based, in part, on the fact that Iran will more or less have to compromise on its program in order to kick start any serious talks on sanctions. Here's what the international community wants from Iran, via Reuters:
The powers want the Islamic Republic to stop higher-grade uranium enrichment to allay concerns that it would provide Iran a quick path to bomb-grade nuclear fuel. Iran says it is refining uranium only to generate more electricity for a rapidly expanding population and to produce isotopes for medicine.
Wednesday was the second and last day of this round of international nuclear talks in Geneva, but there will be more. After yesterday's sessions, participants seemed upbeat about the tone of initial negotiations. That's despite Iran's apparent decision to present its proposal in a PowerPoint. None of the participants have revealed much about the substance of Iran's proposal, just its title: "Closing an unnecessary crisis: Opening new horizons."