Iran says powers receptive to ideas for ending nuclear stand-off


GENEVA, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Iranian Deputy Foreign MinisterAbbas Araqchi said on Tuesday world powers were receptive toTehran's proposals for easing the stand-off over its nuclearprogramme and details would be discussed in the afternoon.

The minister, speaking to reporters after Iran made aPowerPoint presentation at the start of a two-day meeting withthe six powers in Geneva, said the atmosphere in the discussionshad been "positive". He gave no details of the proposals,describing them as "confidential".

In subsequent comments made only to Iranian media, Araqchisaid any final agreement should eliminate all sanctions on Iranand enable it to continue to enrich uranium, according to theISNA news agency.

But he did not go into detail on what Iran might be willingto offer in return, apart from transparency and monitoring bythe U.N. nuclear watchdog. He also said a religious decree bySupreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banning nuclear weaponsshould be "used as the most important confidence-building step".

Michael Mann, spokesman for European Union foreign policychief Catherine Ashton, who leads the negotiations on behalf ofworld powers, said the Iranian presentation had been "veryuseful". Mann did not elaborate.

Western diplomats were not immediately available forcomment. They had earlier called on Iran to put forward concreteproposals to allay their concerns about the Islamic state'snuclear energy programme, which the West fears may aimed atdeveloping a nuclear weapons capability. Iran denies this.

The six powers - the United States, France, Britain, Russia,China and Germany - want Iran to curb sensitive nuclear uraniumenrichment. Iran wants them to ease tough energy and bankingsanctions that have severely restricted its vital oil exports.

"There is a positive atmosphere. Our plan was given and it'splanned that in the afternoon we will discuss more details, butthe first reactions were good," Araqchi told reporters after themorning session broke for lunch.

"It's a completely realistic, balanced and logical plan."Talks were due to resume around 3 p.m. (1300 GMT).

The Geneva talks, the first since relative moderate HassanRouhani was elected Iran's president in June on a platform toease its international isolation, is seen as the best chance foryears to defuse a festering stand-off over Iran's nuclearambitions that has heightened the risk of a new Middle East war.

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