Month of May - a turning point for Iran

Nuclear Program Materials 3 May 2012 14:04 (UTC +04:00)

Trend Persian Desk, Saeed Isayev

Month of May can be considered a turning point for Iran, as this month Islamic Republic prepares to hold two talks in two different countries, regarding its nuclear program.

First on May 13-14, Iran will host talks with the IAEA in Vienna, regarding Islamic Republic's nuclear program and its technical aspects. Iran's Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh will handle the talks from the Iranian side.

Then, on May 23, following the Istanbul meeting on April 14, Iran will once again meet with the "5+1" group (Britain, France, Russia, China and the United States plus Germany) to talk about a wide range of issues, including the nuclear issue.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said that the Baghdad meeting would center on first nuclear disarmament, second the theory of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Leader, which is a clear view and can serve as a major approach towards nuclear disarmament, third on preventing proliferation of the nuclear weapons which is amongst major issues of cooperation and fourth on peaceful use of the nuclear technology as a given and indispensible right of the NPT member states.

Before the upcoming discussions, Iran has good cards on its hands - the country said it will grant IAEA inspectors to visit Parchin military site, the inspections of country's nuclear facilities are being held on a regular weekly basis, and Iran says its sticking to the NPT, meaning all of country's nuclear work is under strict supervision of IAEA.

Both Jalili and Soltanieh stated that going into the talks, Iran will stand by its right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses, meaning the Islamic Republic will not halt its nuclear program completely.

With two important nuclear meetings coming up, Iran still tries to battle the imposed sanctions that keep hammering country's economy. Namely, Iran's oil sector, which the country mostly relies upon, is suffering big time.

Iran traditionally sells most of its oil exports to Asia, where China, India, Japan and South Korea have been the biggest buyers. And all of the mentioned Asian importers have been slowly reducing their imports from Iran.

China cut its oil imports from Iran 5 percent year-on-year in January and 40 percent year-on-year in February. March imports dropped 54 percent, according to Reuters.

Industry sources predicted that South Korea will make sharp cuts in imports of Iranian crude from June as tightening Western sanctions make it impossible to secure insurance cover for tankers to ship the crude.

With Asian buyers dropping their imports from Iran, the Islamic Republic needs to aknowledge the importance of upcoming talks, as country's nuclear issue is directly connected with its "oil dollars".

The European Union announced in January a total ban on purchasing Iranian crude, to be implemented in July. Iran doesn't have much time left till July 1, when the sanctions are officially "on", and therefore the country has to use every chance it has, not to get stuck between the floors.