ISSN 2330-717X

Iran Begins Talks With World Powers


Six world powers have opened talks with Iran in Baghdad with a proposal aimed at resolving international concerns about potential military dimensions to the Iranian nuclear program.

An EU spokesman said the six-nation proposal addresses the group’s concern about Iran’s enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity.

Iran says its enrichment work is meant for medical research and generating electricity. Western nations fear Iran could quickly upgrade its uranium to the 90 percent purity needed for nuclear weapons.

EU spokesman Michael Mann gave no other details of the proposal by the six-nation group, which is led by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. The group includes the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.

Ashton was in the Iraqi capital to represent the world powers in talks with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

It is the second round of a dialogue that resumed last month in Istanbul after a break of more than a year.

Published reports say the six-nation group is reviving a 2009 proposal for Iran to ship out its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium in return for higher-enriched fuel for a medical research reactor in Tehran.

Iran is seeking pledges from the world powers to ease U.N. and Western sanctions imposed on the country for defying international demands for a suspension of enrichment.

Mann said he does not expect any “dramatic happenings” in Baghdad.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow believes Iran is ready to seek an agreement with the six-nation group on concrete actions to resolve the nuclear dispute. He made the comment in Moscow.

Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence and refuses to rule out military action against the Iranian nuclear program.

Israeli officials have urged the world powers not to compromise on their demand for a stop to Iranian enrichment work. Those officials also have expressed concern that Iran will make empty promises of concessions to buy more time to covertly develop nuclear weapons.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Wednesday that Western policies of pressure and intimidation toward Iran are futile. Speaking in Tehran, he said the West must adopt policies that show good will.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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