Iran press hails 'taboo-breaking' US presence at talks
TEHRAN, July 19 (AFP) Jul 19, 2008
Iran's press on Saturday hailed the presence of a US envoy at talks in Geneva on the nuclear crisis as a "taboo-breaking" move, calling on Tehran's arch foe to recognise its atomic rights.
"The meeting is important. First of all the United States is participating in a meeting that is already aware that Iran's red line is suspending uranium enrichment," the reformist Etemad newspaper wrote.
"Secondly, in the past 30 years these are the highest level talks between Washington and Tehran," it added.
World powers have repeatedly called on Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment over fears it could be used to make a nuclear weapon, but Iran has always refused to make concessions on the issue.
In a major shift by Washington, US Under-secretary of State William Burns will attend Saturday's talks in Geneva between Iran's top nuclear negotiator and the EU foreign policy chief aiming to end the crisis.
Also present will be representatives from Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany.
"The fact Iran has accepted to talk to the United States has broken the taboo of talking to Washington, but it is too soon to talk about a thaw between them," said Etemad.
Hardline newspapers such as Jomhouri Eslami and Kayhan, the voices of Iran's clerical establishment, expressed glee over the US presence at the talks and interpreted it as a sign of US weakness.
"Burns' presence at the Geneva talks emanates from the needs of the foreign policy of the United States and also shows the existence of differences among the world powers," said Kayhan, whose editor-in-chief is appointed by the supreme leader.
For Jomhouri Eslami, the policy shift showed that the United States "is no longer a superpower and its power is fading. Their weakness showed from the beginning of the Islamic Revolution and this has intensified."
"It is expected that the (Iranian) negotiating team makes attaining Iran's legitimate rights in the nuclear issue the main aim of these negotiations," it added.
The conservative daily Resalat said that Burns' presence showed that the United States was prepared to live with the Islamic republic, almost 30 years after the revolution that ousted the pro-US shah.
"His presence shows the change in the approach of the Americans," it said.
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