Iran says it will present new proposals at upcoming nuclear talks

Story highlights

  • It was unclear whether Iran plans to discuss the key issue of uranium enrichment
  • Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers resume Saturday in Turkey
  • Iran lashes back at sanctions by cutting off crude oil exports to several European nations
  • Iran has a right to enrich uranium but Western nations suspect it is building a bomb

Iran said Wednesday it plans to present new proposals at upcoming talks on its controversial nuclear program.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, voiced Iran's willingness for successful talks in Istanbul, Turkey, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Wednesday.

He will meet Saturday with representatives of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the United States, France, Russia, China, and Britain -- plus Germany.

"The Iranian delegation is to take new initiatives in talks and we hope the other side will do the same," Jalili said.

It was unclear what those initiatives were and whether Tehran is now willing to discuss suspending Iran's uranium enrichment program. In the past, Iran has defied the wishes of the six world powers to discuss uranium enrichment.

The United States and its allies suspect Iran may be covertly trying to develop a nuclear weapon; Tehran vehemently denies the charges.

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The Iranian government insists it is being bullied by Western nations, and prevented from being able to develop nuclear technology for civilian energy needs.

The United States and European Union have punished Iran for its nuclear ambitions with crippling sanctions. The EU banned oil imports from Iran starting in July and froze the assets of its Central Bank in EU nations.

Iran lashed back Wednesday, cutting off crude oil exports to Germany, state-run Press TV reported. Tehran has already stopped oil exports to France, Britain, and Greece and is now considering adding Italy to that list.

Faced with mounting pressure from the world powers over its controversial nuclear program, Iran said last month that it was ready to re-engage with the International Atomic Energy Association, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

As a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran has the right, like other countries, to enrich uranium for commercial and research reactors.

But the same facilities that are used for peaceful enrichment can be used to enrich uranium for a bomb. Western nations fear that is exactly what Iran is doing.

Talks resume Saturday in Istanbul with hopes of easing tensions heightened by Iran's nuclear progress.

Iran suggested over the weekend that it may be willing to reduce the amount of uranium it is enriching at 20%.

"Based on our needs and once the required fuel is obtained, we will decrease the production and we may even totally shift it to the 3.5%," Iranian nuclear chief Fereydoun Abbasi said, according to Press TV.