Six world powers 'make Iran nuclear proposal'

Catherine Ashton and Saeed Jalili, Baghdad, 23 May 2012 EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is hoping for progress in talks with Iran's negotiator Saeed Jalili

Six world powers have put forward a detailed proposal aimed at curbing Iran's uranium enrichment programme.

The proposal from the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany included confidence-building measures, said the US state department.

The talks are being held in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, at Iran's request.

They come a day after the UN's nuclear watchdog held talks with Iran to try to gain better access to the regime's nuclear installations.

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said any efforts by Western powers to put pressure on Iran at the talks would be "futile".

But he told a news conference in Tehran on Wednesday that there were reasons to be optimistic about the negotiations.

"The ideas fielded to us speak of the fact that the other side would like to make Baghdad a success," he said. "We hope that in a day or two we can bring good news."

Tight security

The US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany are seeking to persuade Iranian officials to scale back their nuclear programme.


These talks mark a strange reunion - for eight years in the 1980s, Iran fought against Iraq. Then, in 2003, America and Britain led the invasion of Iraq.

US soldiers once fought their way to Baghdad because of suspicions of weapons of mass destruction.

Now, US diplomats come back to the same country to talk about the same subject. This time the country in question is Iran, not Iraq.

No-one expects a breakthrough at this round of talks. Nor do they expect a breakdown either.

A US state department spokeswoman said confidence-building measures would "pave the way for Iran to demonstrate that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes".

"This approach would also include step-by-step reciprocal steps aimed at near-term action on our part if Iran takes its own steps," she added, without giving specific details.

The talks are expected to continue into a second day, an unnamed Iranian official told AFP news agency.

He said Tehran had put forward "a package with five items based on the principles of step-by-step and reciprocity".

Tehran insists its uranium enrichment programme is for peaceful purposes, but the West fears Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.

Security is tight at the talks, with about 15,000 Iraqi police and troops protecting the venue inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

Previous talks in Istanbul in April managed to find enough common ground to arrange a further meeting in Baghdad.

Correspondents say Wednesday's talks will put these renewed efforts to the test.

Iran's former nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian: ''Iran is not after a nuclear weapon''

Analysts say the main goal of the six powers will probably be an Iranian agreement to shut down the higher-grade uranium enrichment programme that it launched in 2010.

Iran has since expanded the enrichment process at an underground plant at Fordo, outside the northern city of Qom.

On Tuesday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said an agreement with Iran over nuclear inspections was expected "quite soon" following his recent talks in Tehran.

The IAEA wants its inspectors to have greater access to Iranian sites, nuclear scientists and documents.

The EU, the US and the UN have all imposed sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    war with Iran?!? that makes me laugh so hard ,first strike on Iran will face full invasion on isreal and other countries, Iran aint some broken back cheap country, from my point of view you better off to be Iranian allies rather than enemies, war with iran ,american will face economy crashes which let their country fall as we can see the price of petrol and oil rising up everyday as you can see .

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    How can countries that possess nuclear weapons (and historically have used them) lecture emerging countries on the concept of not developing them? I'll support a war against Iran when all countries make an agreement to rid the world of them. We have no moral authority in this unless we set an example.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    33 Lol, censorship at the old Beeb is getting terrible these days isn't it. Anything off leftie message: Auntie steps in, ok to call people "Hitler" of if they suggest a slight reduction in taxation but criticise Islam or accuse someone of apologism when they suggest it is the West's fault an evil, repressive dictatorship is chasing mass destruction and in comes the removal. Boris was right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    A venerable old joke;

    What's the difference between pretzels and poodles?
    Pretzels don't always go down very well in the White House.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    I worry more about the USA having nuclear power than Iran, look at the idiots the GOP has put up for election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    BANG !!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    #16 LeftieAgitator
    I own a couple of poodles and can assure you they have minds very much their own. If you want an analogy for blind obedience, try spaniel.

    To liken Blair following Bush into Iraq to a poodle, is an insult to poodles.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    12.Barney McGrew did it

    Here's a thought - how about Iran getting rid of their nuclear capability when Israel does? Or even Iran admitting their nuclear capability when Israel does?
    Rose tinted glasses my friend, the reality is that the majority of Israel's neighbours would have invaded or attacked years ago, were it not for the threat of US backed retaliation, and the A Bomb dropping on them

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    "Are you in Iran or the wider region? Do you think the nuclear talks can be successful? You can send us your views using the form below."

    How about one of these surveys for people in Poland? e.g.;

    Are you in Poland or the wider region? Do you honestly believe NATO's insistence that missile defence has anything to do with the threat posed by Iran?

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    There has been a sustained campaign to convince people that Iran is intent on building nuclear weapons. Evidence of this is sketchy and from questionable sources. The US have acknowledged that Iran is not trying to do so.
    Given the concerted efforts to demonize Iran, they should get building so they have their own 'deterrent'.

    "Open your eyes - DON'T believe the lies."

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    There's been no military threat whatsoever to the United States since the 'look-the-other-way while the Japs attack' at Pearl Harbor. Iran is no more likely to start a war than it is to embrace Judaism. Iraq was a decimated country with no military capabilities at all when it was attacked by the US. North Korea can't even feed its people. The US is by far the biggest threat to world peace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Are the six world powers going to talk "with" the Iranians or "at" them?

    Is there any real desire to come up with a peaceful solution or will it be
    "You will do this, or else!"
    "No we won't, and if you try to force us you'll be sorry!"

    I suspect more of the same old...

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    It always strikes me as funny when the West has our own nuclear power that we put restrictions on other countries developing their own nuclear strategey.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    I don't doubt that Iran wants the bomb in order to feel safe from the likes of the US. But would the US and allies be much of a threat if Iran wasn't chasing the atom while at the same time declaring their commitment to the destruction of Israel. Seems to me that they may just bring about the very thing they're trying to avoid.

  • Comment number 25.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    We shoudn't be worrying about Iran as closer to home if Scotland becomes indepandant the first thing Alex Salmond will do is build an arsenal of nuclear weapons.
    If Iran want nuclear weapon then fair play to them, it's not skin off my nose, doesn't affect my daily routine whatsoever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    If Iran is not already convinced of the undesirability of killing millions of people, it is hard to imagine what Ms Ashton can say to them.

    Assuming a sane Iran government, their only other use for nukes is a balance of terror with presumably Israel. If the prospect of Mutually Assured Destruction makes Israel treat Palestine more humanely, maybe Iranian nukes will be a good thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    I can not see any real problem with Iran having the nuke. Has to whether the USA and UK should go to war over it is very debatable, I would ask the question after the Iraq and Afganistan messes, who will be stupid enough to fight for the USA and UK. Lets be honest you would have to be brain dead to join up to fight Iran these days

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    If Iran was a country who could be trusted with the Power of the Atom bomb, then the United Nations would not be beating their drums over it!

    Are you saying that the United Nations is wrong?

    The only true question is what it will take to stop Iran from making the bomb, and worst case scenario dropping one on its neighbours.

    Can they be paid off to stop, in some form or another? alternative is?


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