Saturday, 5 January 2013

Iran Live Coverage: Nuclear Talks to Resume?

Catherine Ashton & Saeed Jalili0650 GMT: Oil Watch. Turkey, a leading customer for Iran's oil and gas, will no longer publish a breakdown of the source of its energy imports, an official at the country’s statistics office said Friday.

The move came at the request of Turkey’s refining monopoly TUPRAS. “TUPRAS asked us last month not to reveal the origin of our crude oil imports and instead give an overall figure,” the official said. “We were not informed of the reason for the change in policy."

Shipping sources and Reuters indicated on Friday that Turkey's imports of oil from Iran were steady fro September to December, but down more than 60% from early 2012. At the same time, the 11,000% increase in gold transfers from Ankara to the Islamic Republic suggest that Turkey is continuing to pay for significant amounts of Iranian natural gas.

0630 GMT: After a day of sometimes confusing signals, Friday closed with the confirmation that Iran expects nuclear talks with the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Russia) to resume later this month.

The initial reports of progress came from a trip to India by Saeed Jalili, Iran's lead nuclear negotiator, when he supposedly told journalists, "We have accepted that these talks should be held in January, but until now, the details [of date and location] have not been finalised."

However, the spokesman for the 5+1 Powers, Michael Mann, responded that he knew of no agreement for a resumption. Perhaps more significantly, Iranian State media did not carry Jalili's statement; instead, they focused on his criticism of the US as "the only nuclear criminal in the world and...the only government which has used nuclear energy and weapons against innocent people". For me, the reticence raised the possibility that Jalili's comments had been mis-reported in Western outlets or that he had gone too far for the regime in his optimism about talks.

Late last night, Press TV finally offered some resolution, posting Jalili's comment from the morning and adding his further declaration, "We welcome their return to talks and we hope that they would enter talks with a constructive approach and would not repeat their previous miscalculations."

The website reinforced the positive message with a quote from Sebastian Brabant, a spokesman for the lead 5+1 Powers negotiator, Catherine Ashton, “They’re negotiating the modalities and the details for the next round to be held very soon."

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

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