The six major countries Thursday called on Iran to enter fresh dialogues "without pre-conditions," and allow international inspectors to visit one of its military site.
Cheng Jingye (1st L), China's permanent representative and ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, prepares for a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, on March 8, 2012. [Xu Liang/Xinhua]
The six countries, namely the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain, which used to engage in Iranian nuclear talks, made the call in a joint statement at a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"We call on Iran to enter, without pre-conditions, into a sustained process of serious dialogue, which will produce concrete results," the statement said.
The six countries also urged Iran to allow international inspectors to visit Parchin site in Iran, a military installation suspected of having nuclear warhead-related research and experimental activities.
The IAEA head Yukiya Amano has said he was "disappointed" that in recent nuclear talks Iran refused to grant the agency's experts access to the site.
In response, Iran's envoy to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh has explained that access to Parchin can be granted when Iranian officials and the agency can agree on the conditions under which such a visit would take place.
The six countries stressed the need and urgency to reach agreement over Iran's nuclear issue on a structured approach, based on the IAEA verification practices, "to resolve all outstanding issues, particularly those relating to possible military dimensions."
"Our overall goal remains a comprehensive negotiated, long-term solution, on the basis of reciprocity and a step-by-step approach, which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program," the joint statement said.
"We also reaffirm our continuing support for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue and readiness to restart dialogue with Iran," the statement added.
Chinese envoy to the IAEA Cheng Jingye said that China hopes to see sustained talks between six countries and Iran.
"We hope to see the P5+1 and Iran start a process of sustained dialogue at an early date, build up mutual trust based on the principle of step by step and reciprocity and search for a comprehensive and long-term proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue," Cheng said.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Tuesday that the six countries have accepted an Iranian offer to revive negotiations after months of stalemate.
U.S. President Obama dismissed the idea that Washington has to decide over the next two months whether to launch a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities at a press briefing on Tuesday.
He said that he believes "a window of opportunity" exists at this stage for a diplomatic resolution to the standoff over Iran's controversial nuclear program.
However, Obama failed to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off a unilateral military action against Iran's nuclear sites in the coming months in their meeting at the White House on Monday.
The West accuses Iran of attempting to develop nuclear weapons, but the latter rejects such accusations and says its nuclear program is only for peaceful use.