Last updated: 20 May, 2012

#Iran MPs urge respect of rights in nuclear talks

A majority of Iranian lawmakers on Sunday urged world powers to respect Iran’s “rights” in crucial talks next week in Baghdad over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.

Of the 290-member parliament, 203 MPs called on the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany, the so-called P5+1 group, to also seek “co-operation” with Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported.

“The P5+1 should respect the rights of the Iranian nation,” the MPs said in a statement.

“And they should ignore the Zionists’ pressures and move to change their policy of confrontation to co-operation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

The lawmakers also advised Iran’s negotiating team to “vigorously defend Iran’s rights” during the May 23 meeting with representatives of the P5+1 in Iraq’s capital, and warned that Iran would “respond to any political pressure.”

The statement comes as Iranian officials in recent days have stepped up their assertions that they will resist any pressure during the talks.

Tehran has also asked for the lifting of Western sanctions to create a “productive” atmosphere for negotiation.

The Baghdad meeting marks the second round of talks between Iran and world powers over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme, which were revived in April in Istanbul after a 15-month impasse.

US President Barack Obama said on Saturday at the G8 summit that he was committed to pursuing a dual-approach policy of sanctions and pressure along with diplomacy to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Obama also warned that Iran’s inability so far to convince the world its nuclear work was peaceful was “of grave concern.”

The leaders of eight leading industrialised countries called on Iran to engage in “detailed discussions” in Baghdad that can “lead towards a comprehensive negotiated solution which restores international confidence that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful.”