ZURICH (Reuters)–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed Iran’s nuclear ambitions on Saturday with her French counterpart Bernard Kouchner on the sidelines of a signing ceremony for a peace deal between Armenia and Turkey.
Kouchner told journalists he hoped for progress soon on Iran, noting Tehran had agreed at talks with major powers in Geneva to allow U.N. inspectors access to a newly disclosed nuclear site on October 25.
“We want peace and we are very hostile about anything that could threaten this peace,” Kouchner said.
Although Iran and Western powers described talks in Geneva on October 1 as a step forward, tension was highlighted before the talks when Iran test-fired missiles with ranges that could put Israel and regional U.S. bases within reach.
The Geneva talks with six world powers — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — are expected to win Iran a reprieve from more U.N. sanctions, although the West is likely to be wary of any attempt by Tehran to buy time.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, also in Zurich for the signing of the Turkey-Armenia deal, said he hoped for more progress soon with several meetings due this month on Iran.
“The core of the problem has not been resolved but the idea is to have a process of negotiations rapidly with several meetings during the month of October,” he told journalists.
“The most important thing is to have serious, dynamic, rapid negotiations of the nuclear issue. That has not really started.”
The issue could also come up when Clinton sees Solana and her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov at the signing ceremony for the Swiss-mediated deal in Zurich, which comes at the start of her trip to Britain, Russia and Ireland.
Clinton said on Thursday she was encouraged by Moscow’s role in the Geneva talks and would be looking for ways to build on the meeting. Russia has been traditionally reluctant to impose sanctions on Iran.
Iran has always insisted on its right to carry out its own enrichment of uranium for a nuclear program it says is to generate electricity. It rejects Western suspicions that its real intention is to build an atomic bomb.