Iran Nuclear Talks Move To Moscow

Posted May 25th, 2012 at 1:40 am (UTC-5)
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Iran and six world powers have agreed to hold a new round of talks in Moscow next month to try to resolve concerns about Tehran's nuclear program, after talks in Baghdad achieved few results.

The two sides will meet in the Russian capital on June 18 and 19. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the meeting would be used to expand common ground.

Ashton said the Baghdad talks were “very intense.” She commented on Thursday, at the end of the two-day meeting in which she represented the six world powers. She also said Iran declared a “readiness” to address international concerns about its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity.

Western powers fear Iran could quickly upgrade its uranium to the 90 percent purity needed for nuclear weapons.

However, Iran said it wants an easing of international sanctions in return for any concession on enrichment work, which it says is meant for medical research and generating electricity.

Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili emphasized what he called “the absolute right” of Iran to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. He told reporters the Baghdad talks were “detailed but unfinished.”

Analyst Michael Adler, who is writing a book on the Iranian nuclear crisis, tells VOA the Baghdad talks were a “get acquainted” session for the two sides and core issues would be debated in Moscow.

“Moscow will be, perhaps, what we thought Baghdad would be which is a chance to really start talking because between now and the meeting in June in Moscow, there will be a lot of chance for the two sides to think about their positions and to think about how to go forward.”

Earlier, EU spokesman Michael Mann told VOA that the six nations presented a “clear” proposal calling on Iran to address international concerns about its nuclear program in return for “reciprocal measures” that the group believes will be attractive to Tehran. He said it is important for Iran to engage in the negotiations “seriously.”

Iran's delegation in Baghdad offered its own proposal for ending the dispute. Iranian state media said Thursday that offer is more comprehensive than that of the world powers and accused the United States of being unwilling to express a position on it.

Diplomats said the world powers offered Iran incentives to stop production of highly enriched uranium and transfer the material abroad in exchange for nuclear fuel for its research reactor in Tehran. Iranian diplomats expressed disappointment with that offer, complaining that it makes too many demands of Iran without enough benefit.