Vienna, 25 April 2010 – „Foreign Minister Mottaki and I had a very clear and open discussion which, however, revealed our differences in opinion“, said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger after his meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister Manutschehr Mottaki, which took place in Vienna today upon the request of the Iranian side. During the meeting, Foreign Minister Spindelegger emphatically stated the clear expectations of the international community and Austria in connection with the Iranian nuclear dossier. „We want a clear change of course from Iran – with regard to the nuclear dossier and human rights. We want guarantees that Iran’s nuclear programme serves solely civil purposes. The burden of proof for restoring international confidence lies with Iran“, stressed Spindelegger.
Spindelegger added: „The clock is ticking. Time is getting short for Iran. I clearly explained to my colleague that the train toward sanctions can only be stopped if Teheran sends a clear signal of cooperation.“ Spindelegger said that, unfortunately, Iran had taken a whole series of actions in recent months that further exacerbated the concerns of the international community.
Asked about a possible new offer by Iran on the issue of uranium enrichment, Spindelegger replied: „It is too early to evaluate this offer. The best step toward confidence would certainly be the resumption of sincere negotiations with the E3+3. It is decisive that the international community continues to pursue a clear common course. Iran must be aware that we want to see deeds and not only hear words.“
The Minister also took the opportunity to express concerns over the unsatisfactory human rights situation in Iran, and appealed to his colleague to immediately release the three American backpackers arrested at the border to Iraq in August 2009, and to allow them to return to their families in the United States. „We shall also continue to clearly articulate our criticism over the issue of human rights. Moreover, the repeated public calls for the annihilation of Israel are plainly unacceptable and further stir up international suspicion.“
When asked about the ongoing negotiations between the E3+3 on a further tightening of the sanctions regime in the UN Security Council, the Foreign Minister said: „I will not anticipate the outcome of these talks, but I hope that the United Nations Security Council will adopt a clear position. Austria’s stance is by all means clear: We support the efforts for a clear international reaction and we shall continue to collaborate constructively toward a resolution on Iran.“
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