Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Mbeki delivers Iran nuclear message to G8

Group of Eight (G8) leaders have been told Iran is seriously considering a package of incentives aimed at getting it to halt its nuclear programme, South African President Thabo Mbeki said on Monday.

Mbeki, whose Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, visited Iran last week, said he passed on that message during his meetings with G8 leaders in the Russian Federation. An Iranian foreign ministry official had made similar comments to reporters on Sunday, but Mbeki’s briefing took the communications to a higher level.

”We have today in our interactions with the G8 communicated the essential message from the Iranians,” Mbeki said in an interview with foreign reporters. ”It is that they believe this proposal is important, it constitutes an important starting point with regard to the negotiating process which everybody agrees needs to take place, and therefore that they are considering the matter seriously.”

The package offered by the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany last month includes economic incentives and a provision for the US to offer Iran some nuclear technology, lift some sanctions and join direct negotiations. The key demand of the six is that Iran stop enriching uranium during any negotiations.

Their proposal also calls for Iran to impose a long-term moratorium on uranium enrichment — which can produce civilian reactor fuel or fissile bomb material.

Iran, facing United Nations Security Council sanction, has said it will formally respond in late August. Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters in Tehran on Sunday that the proposals were an ”acceptable basis” for talks, and that Iran was ready for detailed negotiations.

Frustrated world powers agreed on Wednesday to send Iran to the UN Security Council for possible punishment, saying Tehran had given no sign it would bargain in earnest over its nuclear ambitions.

The US and some of its allies accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran has denied the charges, saying its programme is aimed at making electricity, not bombs.

South Africa built six nuclear weapons and partially assembled a seventh between the 1970s and 1993, and then renounced nuclear weapons and dismantled its arsenal. That history gives it moral authority in the debate over disarmament, and it also is a powerful advocate for the right of developing countries to have access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. — Sapa-AP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Jim Heintz
Jim Heintz works from Moscow mostly. Journalist with The Associated Press. Jim Heintz has over 318 followers on Twitter.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Basic web lessons for South Africa: Government hacks point to...

Recent cyberattacks at the department of justice and the space agency highlight the extent of our naïveté

If the inflation-driving supply strain in the US lasts, it...

In South Africa, a strong trade surplus, buoyed by robust commodity prices, will cushion our economy against pressure arising from US policy

More top stories

Almost two million voters register for local elections

Young people make use of online portal and women account for more than half of the total registered

Free State regions cry foul after dissolution by interim provincial...

Regional ANC leaders have asked Duarte to intervene after the interim provincial committee resolved to dissolve their branches ahead of local government elections

ANC unlikely to replace Joburg mayor Matongo before 1 Nov

A party source said the ANC in Johannesburg would most likely call on one of the mayoral committee members to stand in as mayor until the local elections

Ramaphosa hits the right notes as he urges Cosatu to...

Cosatu meets to deliberate on its support for the governing party in the upcoming local government elections
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×