Iran urges West to resist outside pressure in nuclear talks

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif smiles during a joint press conference with his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders (unseen) on February 23, 2014 in the Iranian capital TehranIran urged western powers Tuesday to resist any pressure from third parties not directly involved in negotiations over its nuclear activities, in a clear reference to Israeli-led influence. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, quoted by the official IRNA news agency after meetings with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, also called for “seriousness and realism,” in the next round of nuclear talks in Vienna next month. After a second day of discussions with Ashton in Istanbul, Zarif said the P5 + 1 powers (Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany) should avoid “illusions which might be exerted on them by some pressure groups and people outside the negotiations.” Iran has consistently denied it is seeking nuclear weapons but wants an independent atomic energy programme.

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