Next stop Moscow for Iran nuclear talks

2012-05-25 08:44

kalahari.com

Baghdad - Iran and six world powers achieved little in two days of intense nuclear talks in Baghdad except arranging another meeting in Moscow next month and establishing they are poles apart on crucial issues.

The latest diplomatic push between Iran and the P5+1 - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - at one stage even looked unlikely to take place until desperate eleventh-hour efforts managed to salvage the process - for now.

"We remain determined to resolve this problem in the near term through negotiations, and will continue to make every effort to that end," Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, said after two "very intense" days of talks.

"What we have now is some common ground and a meeting in place where we can take that further forward," she said, announcing the next round would take place in Moscow on 18-19 June.

She added however that there remained "significant differences" and that Iran must take "concrete and practical steps to urgently meet the concerns of the international community".

The main bone of contention was - and will remain in Moscow - the speed at which the P5+1 eases sanctions in return for the Islamic republic scaling back the most sensitive parts of its nuclear programme.

Sweeteners

Ashton put forward in the Iraqi capital on behalf of the six powers a new package of proposals that clearly went down badly with the Iranians.

The P5+1 want Iran to restrict to purities of 20% the enrichment of uranium, the area of Iran's activities that most raises their suspicions that Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear arsenal.

In return reports indicated the international powers are prepared to offer a variety of sweeteners, including fuel plates for a reactor producing medical isotopes, relaxing restrictions on aircraft parts and nuclear safety assistance.

But this falls short of the lifting of the whole raft of UN Security Council and unilateral Western sanctions that have been hit Iran's economy for years.

Reflecting official thinking in Tehran, state media ran reports slammed the package, with the IRNA news agency calling it as "outdated, not comprehensive, and unbalanced".

Iran meanwhile is loath to give up what its chief negotiator in Baghdad, Saeed Jalili called its "absolute right" to uranium enrichment.

Oil embargo


In the end, with the Baghdad talks extended several times - they were originally only meant to last one day - the two sides agreed to differ, setting the stage for what may be a make-or-break gathering in the Russian capital.

Neither side can afford to keep the process going indefinitely without some tangible progress.

Iran is threatened with an EU oil embargo, due to take full effect from 1 July, that will also bar EU firms from insuring crude tankers heading to countries such as India, South Korea and Japan, all major buyers of Iran's oil.

Israel, which is widely considered to have the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal, sees itself as Tehran's number-one target if Iran acquires the bomb and is highly sceptical that diplomacy will work.

Like the United States, it has refused to rule out military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities to prevent it developing a weapons capability.

Oil prices have risen higher as a result, hurting global growth just as the eurozone crisis threatens to return with a vengeance and as US President Barack Obama seeks re-election in November on the back of an improving economy.

Military option

Obama, who campaigned in 2008 for his first term promising to reach out to Tehran, is also wary of his Iran policy being branded as soft and a failure by his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

"A freeze on new sanctions in exchange for a freeze on new enrichment activity is still possible," Mark Fitzpatrick at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank in London said.

"The danger is that if they drag on too long, diplomacy will be seen to have failed by many in Israel and elsewhere, which will bring renewed talk of a military option."

Read more on:    un  |  barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  iran  |  nuclear  |  iran nuclear programme  |  sanctions
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Kuils River - 17:34 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit
  • Sunday Parow - 08:10 AM
    Road name: Mike Pienaar Boulevard
    WEEKENDS - ROAD CLOSED between Voortrekker Road and Tienie Meyer Drive due to roadworks (until end July)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2775.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong emphasis on relationships. Obsession, emotional disputes, retaliation or competitive actions are highlighted....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.