WASHINGTON (JTA) –The major powers expect a "serious response" from Iran when negotiations over its suspected nuclear weapons program begin on Oct. 1.
"We expect a serious response from Iran and will decide, in the context of our dual track approach, as a result of the meeting, on our next steps," said David Milliband, the British foreign secretary, after representatives of the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany met Wednesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Earlier this month, Iran accepted the U.S.-led offer of negotiations, but has not committed to talks about allowing more stringent inspections of its nuclear facilities.
In his speech Wednesday to the General Assembly, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, reiterated a willingess to discuss security issues generally. "Our nation is prepared to warmly shake all those hands which are honestly extended to us," he said.
In remarks after Milliband delivered the statement, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, said the United States was committed to a "dual track" policy of isolating Iran and negotiations.
"No one should underestimate our intention to follow through on either or both of these tracks," she said. "It depends on Iran’s response. And some of you have heard me say this numerous times – this process is now firmly up to Iran."
Clinton said directly addressing Iran’s suspected nuclear militarization must be a component of the talks.
"The ministers expressed a clear expectation that Iran should come to the talks on October 1st, ready to engage in serious and substantive discussions with a sense of urgency and a review of the practical steps that need to be taken on the nuclear issue, and that we will decide next steps on the basis of the meeting’s outcome," she said.