Iranian Deputy FM Hopeful about Baghdad Talks
(FNA)- Iranian officials once again reiterated that the upcoming talks with the world powers in Baghdad later this month should result in the removal of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran and the Group 5+1 restarted negotiations in Istanbul last month and the sides have agreed to meet again in Baghdad on May 23.
Iranian and western officials have said they are hopeful about the tangible results of the upcoming meeting in Baghdad, with Tehran officials saying they are "optimistic" that in the May 23 session the other side would reciprocate Iran's goodwill gestures.
"We continue to be optimistic about the upcoming negotiations," said Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mahdi Akhondzadeh at a conference in Vienna on Wednesday.
Two days later, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, "We have to see what the Iranians are willing to do, then we have to make sure they do it, and then we have to reciprocate. That's what a negotiation is all about."
Istanbul's meeting ended with little more than the plan to meet again. Yet that was portrayed as a success after the swift collapse of negotiations in early 2011.
Iranian officials also plan to meet May 13-14 in Vienna with experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency to resolve outstanding issues of difference.
Iranian lawmaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel reiterated the need for the West to annul the sanctions against Iran.
"Lifting sanctions is our least expectation," added Haddad Adel.
A full boycott of Iranian oil goes into effect July 1 across the European Union, which once accounted for about 18 percent of Iran's crude exports. Iran threatened to block Persian Gulf tankers in retaliation for tougher sanctions, at one point shooting oil prices above $120 a barrel.
A prominent Iranian political analyst, Sadeq Zibakalam, said sanctions may become the linchpin on whether talks stall in Baghdad or move forward.
"Sanctions have harmed Iran. They also harmed Europeans," he said. "Sanctions also have caused a hike in the oil price, worsening the global economic downturn ... Neither Iran nor the West benefit."