Iran offers ‘snap nuke inspections’

AFP-JIJI

World powers and Iran entered a second day of talks Wednesday aimed at ending the decade-long standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program, after the Islamic republic put what it billed as a breakthrough proposal on the table.

Top officials backed by experts on nuclear affairs and sanctions were combing through the details of Iran’s proposal, which it said allowed for snap inspections of its atomic sites.

Iran’s negotiations in Geneva with European Union-chaired P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany — kicked off Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his team made an hour-long presentation to the P5+1.

There was confusion about what Iran had on offer, with Iranian state news agency IRNA quoting lead negotiator Abbas Araqchi as saying Tuesday that an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allowing snap inspections was not part of the offer. On Wednesday he clarified his remarks. “None of these issues exist in the first step, but they are part of our last step,” IRNA quoted him as saying.

Earlier, Zarif said Tehran’s plan contained three steps that could settle the long-running nuclear standoff “within a year,” with the first achievable “within a month or two, or even less.”