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05/24/12

Iran Rejects Stance of World Powers at Nuclear Talks

Source: VOA

Iran rejected the stance of world powers in talks Thursday over its disputed nuclear program. The two sides were meeting for a second day in Baghdad in an attempt to resolve international concerns about potential military dimensions to the Iranian nuclear program.

Issues

At issue is 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.

Iran criticized the proposal from the six-nation group, saying it makes too many demands of Iran while offering too little in return. Western powers have rebuffed Tehran's call for an immediate easing of economic sanctions.

Criticism

In turn, Iran accused world powers Thursday of creating a "difficult atmosphere" with its demands. The world powers group includes the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.

Talks were scheduled through late afternoon. But Iran is signaling the impasse is significant and could derail further talks.

The French news agency quoted an Iranian official as saying "the basis for another round of negotiations does not exist yet."

Concessions

In an interview with VOA, Middle East analyst Shahram Akbarzadeh said Iran will not fully comply with Western demands but may make a few concessions in a bid to ease economic sanctions.

"If by giving in to the international community slightly, if by taking one step back allows the sanctions to be cancelled then Iran would do that," said Akbarzadeh. "But I don't think you can expect Iran to be fully cooperative with the international community."

The world powers' plan seeks to close an Iranian enrichment facility built inside a fortified military bunker near the holy city of Qom.

In exchange, the group offered benefits including medical isotopes, some nuclear safety cooperation and spare parts for civilian airliners, much needed in Iran.

The Iranian side indicated that ending impending Western sanctions on Tehran's oil trade is key for the talks to advance. But world power representatives have refused to consider postponing the new harsher measures.

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