Iran, world powers agree Moscow meet, little else

Iran and six world powers closed two days of "very intense" nuclear talks Thursday with little to show except an agreement to meet again next month in Moscow after sharp disagreements over the way forward.

"We have met with our Iranian counterparts over the last two days in very intense and detailed discussions," said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, representing six world powers at the talks in Baghdad.

She added that it was "clear that we both want to make progress, and that there is some common ground. However, significant differences remain."

The parties would meet again in Moscow on June 18-19, Ashton announced.

"We remain determined to resolve this problem in the near term through negotiations, and will continue to make every effort to that end," she said.

"What we have now is some common ground and a meeting in place where we can take that further forward."

Ashton had on behalf of the P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- laid out a new package of proposals that appeared to alarm the Iranians.

These reportedly included Iran suspending enrichment of uranium to 20-percent purities -- for the P5+1, the most worrying part of Tehran's activity and the crunch issue, since it shortens the theoretical time needed to develop the bomb.

But the P5+1 offer went down badly with Tehran since in return it did not offer the relief from crippling sanctions sought by Iran.

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official thinking in Tehran, state media ran reports slamming the package, with the IRNA news agency calling it "outdated, not comprehensive, and unbalanced."

Ashton said in her closing news conference that Iran had "declared its readiness to address 20-percent enrichment" but she did not elaborate.

She made no direct mention of sanctions, saying: "What we set out to do is to put forward very clear ideas of what we thought could be done around the 20 percent, and very clear ideas of what we thought could be offered."

Iran's negotiator, however, insisted Tehran has the "absolute right" to uranium enrichment.

"This is a peaceful activity under the supervision of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency -- the UN watchdog), and it is the inalienable right of Iran and they (the P5+1) confirmed this in the meeting," Saeed Jalili said.

He added, however, that "it can be an issue of discussion for cooperation."

Britain warned Iran on Thursday that it would intensify sanctions unless Tehran took "urgent, concrete" steps after what Foreign Secretary William Hague called "limited progress" in Baghdad.

The P5+1 reportedly proposed a pledge not to impose any new sanctions, as well as easing Iranian access to aircraft parts and a possible suspension of an EU insurance ban on ships carrying Iranian oil.

The proposals also reportedly included a revival of previous attempts to have Iran ship abroad its stockpiles of enriched uranium in return for fuel for a reactor producing medical isotopes.

But Iran announced on Tuesday that it was loading domestically produced, 20-percent enriched uranium fuel into the reactor, and the Iranian official in Baghdad was dismissive of reviving the idea of a swap.

The Baghdad talks were always going to be tough, as to make progress the two sides would have to tackle some of the thorny issues that have divided them -- and the P5+1 themselves -- for years.

"We are the beginning of this process. We are not in the middle of it and we are certainly not at the end of it," said a senior US official, portraying the "fair amount of disagreement" as a sign that the talks were at least serious.

In Moscow, "the trick for the P5+1 is to make sure Iran understands that sanctions will go forward unless Iran cooperates, while assuring Iran that if Iran cooperates, sanctions will be lifted," said Mark Hibbs, proliferation specialist at the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace.

The cost of failure in Moscow could barely be higher.

Iran is threatened with an EU oil embargo due to take full effect from July 1 that will also bar EU firms from insuring crude tankers heading to India, South Korea and Japan.

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 diplomacy can help it.

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.

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.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions
    U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to Indonesia on Saturday not to execute 10 prisoners, including two Australians, for drug-related crimes. Indonesia has so far informed seven of the 10 death row inmates, including the Australians and one Nigerian, that they will be executed in a matter of days, possibly as soon as Tuesday. Nationals from Brazil, Ghana and the Philippines are also on Indonesia's death row. A temporary reprieve was granted to a French citizen who will not …

  • Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions
    Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions

    Indonesia on Sunday signalled it was determined to push ahead with the execution of eight foreign drug convicts, despite a growing wave of global condemnation led by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- that they would be executed by firing squad imminently, along with an Indonesian prisoner. The group have been moved to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where …

  • AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys
    AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

  • Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions
    Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions

    Short of condemning China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, a senior US military official said Washington does not support any act of coercion and bullying. “We don’t stand for coercion, bullying and aggressiveness,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, assistant US military director for  Phl-US Joint Balikatan Exercises 2015. At the sidelines of this year’s joint military exercises’ static aircraft display held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Mahoney told a media briefing that …

  • ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’
    ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’

    The proposed grant to the chief minister of the envisioned Bangsamoro region of operational control over police forces in the area is consistent with the Constitution, a senior administration lawmaker said yesterday. It is clear in the proposed BBL that the Bangsamoro police will be part of the Philippine National Police (PNP), while the Bangsamoro Regional Police Board (BRPB) will be part of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) and will carry out Napolcom’s mandate in the region,” he …

  • Noy off to KL for Asean meet
    Noy off to KL for Asean meet

    President Aquino will arrive here this afternoon with Manila hopeful of support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to achieve peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as well as economic prosperity and inclusive growth among the people in the region. Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Eduardo Malaya III said that with respect to the dramatic developments in the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had called for the early …

  • Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food
    Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

    After months of preparation and hard work from both the government and private sectors, the future of food is finally here in the country’s capital. Madrid Fusión Manila opened its doors on Friday to an international delegation who eagerly awaited the discussions of some of the most renowned and revered names in the culinary world. Madrid Fusión Manila is a historic gastronomic event marked by talks and exhibitions that showcases Spain and the Philippines’ shared cultural heritage, as well as …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options