Middle East

Jubilation and suspicion in Iran's press over nuclear talks

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a press conference closing a two-day of closed-door nuclear talks on October 16, 2013 in Geneva.
Image caption Reformist papers praised the Geneva talks for breaking the 'nuclear deadlock'

While Iran's reformist dailies are upbeat about the constructive tone of Tehran's latest round of talks with world powers on its nuclear programme, the country's conservative press remains suspicious of Western intentions.

However, both camps think that the West should respond to Iran's expressed readiness to compromise by offering concessions of its own.

'Geneva smiles'

The optimism that followed the negotiations in Geneva is reflected in buoyant headlines splashed across Iran's reformist newspapers.

"Luminous lights of Geneva," is Etemad's front page headline above a picture of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton standing next to each other.

"Nuclear deadlock broken in Geneva," proclaims pro-government newspaper Iran, while Sharq opts for "Geneva smiles".

In its editorial, Etemad praises the new government of President Hassan Rouhani and says that Iran wants to open a new chapter in the nuclear negotiations. The paper warns, however, that this should not be interpreted as a sign that Iran was ready to make concessions.

Tehran has shown "flexibility", and the West needs to seize this opportunity so that talks could move forward, says Etemad.

Writing in Sharq, Gholamali Khoshru, a former member of Iran's nuclear negotiating team, calls for the country's right to develop atomic energy to be recognised. He suggests that in order to facilitate the talks, the West should make a "symbolic gesture" and ease the international sanctions imposed on Tehran.

The thought was echoed in the editorial in moderate daily Arman. The paper hails Iran's proposals at the talks as a "positive move", but writes that Iran also needs to see "some concessions" from the other side.

Armanalso comments on demands that Iran should once again accept the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would allow unannounced inspections of its nuclear facilities. This "will not be a sign of weakness... it will demonstrate Iran's confidence that its nuclear programme is peaceful," the paper argues.

'Knot of talks' not untied

The tone in Iran's conservative papers is more cautious, with some even using a language more reminiscent of the country's previous administration under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"Western sanctions cannot change Iran's policy," says a defiant headline in Resalat.

Qods leads with "Zarif: we will monitor P5+1's change in approach".

Keyhan also quotes Iran's foreign minister in order to emphasize a point that the West too must make concessions. "Zarif: America should display good will in practice," says its headline.

Keyhan suggests that "instead of offering confidence to the enemy, you have to make them believe that you have the capability, despite all the opposition and hostility, to continue on your path.

"The enemy has to believe that the impact of its pressure and its power to exert pressure is not enough to make the other side surrender," the paper argues.

For Resalat, the US continues to "direct the scene of the talks and set the rules of the game". The daily warns that many steps have yet to be taken to "untie the knot of the talks".

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