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 200.


    14 Minutes ago

    Does anyone recall the Iranians trying to bomb Iraq's Osirak reactor back in 1981 during the Iran-Iraq war
    Maybe the fact that they were fighting a physical war, in which chemical weapons were being used by "guess who" with weapons supplied from "guess who"

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    176 "UK's record probably stretches back another 300 years" - oh please, more leftie "we're so bad" history rewriting: as early as 637 Iran (Persia) was invading the Middle East, spreading Islam, destroying Zoroastrianism. Pathetic talking about stuff that happened centuries ago, on either side of the argument, but especially pathetic if you ignore the bits that undermine your argument.

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    Yes, it is [it's on an occupied border of LITHUANIA AND POLAND.
    been there]"

    No it isn't. It is the place of the former territory of East Prussia, which existed after the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 on the territories of the Teutonic knights. Before that it was disputed between them and Poland/Lithuania but was definitely Prussian/German until 1945.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Who is responsible for starting 2 horrific world wars? Who is responsible for slavery? Who is responsible for aparteid crimes? Who is responsible for Amritsar? Who is responsible for detonating 2 nuclear weapons? Who murdered civilians in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan....? Who is responsible for the holocaust? Who supported mass murder in Panama and Hondurus in the 80's.....the west!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    If i [Iran]t seeks to wipe out Israel, (or any other of its neighbours), it knows it'll be destroyed - so what is Iran actually after?

    As I said before: ayatollahs would most likely simply use their proxies (al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah) to deliver nukes to US shores (e.g. in container ships to Baltimore, LA, New York, Seattle) thus making it v. difficult for the attacked to retaliate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    @124. tabasco12
    "that is naive. Saddam was virtually a puppet of the West at that point. Google 'United states support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war'."

    Yes the US supported Iraq from during the war but you seem to suggest they started the whole thing. Saddam made an executive decision to invade Iran while it was in the chaos of revolution.

  • Comment number 194.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    However imperfect, nuclear capable countries like ourselves and the US are on the whole civilised and sophisticated and have the morality required forownership of atomic weapons. Every possible step must be taken to deny these arms to primitive states who do not share our sensibilities and regard for human life.; Too many such savage and barbaric states already have them

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    Everything the UK involves itself in inside the middle east is a complete disaster. Why are people so stupid to support another war? The Iranian regime in place there because of our doing in the 1950's. We have caused more problems out there than anyone else stretching back all the way to imperialism. Our presence and involvement there inflames and destablises it even further.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    Firstly, I don't agree with Isreal stance on Palestine and nuclear weapons, and I don't agree with general US support for them...BUT:

    The thought of a highly religious Islamic state such as Iran having nuclear weapons scares the what'sit out of me, because I believe they would not hesitate is using them as the aggressor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    @170Mikesimplex: Your memory seems a little hazy,the uss stark was hit by excocet missiles fired from an IRAQI fighter in the straights of Hormuz in 1987,shortly after this uss Vincennes,illegally chasing Iranian gunboats in Iranian territorial waters blew an Iranian airliner out of the sky,killing 290 people

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    Even if Iran is developing nuclear technology for power generation only they should still be stopped. Nuclear power is potentially catastrophic look at Fukushima (still not safe).
    Nuclear power is a big enough risk in stable advanced countries with the expertise to deal with any problems, but Iran?
    If genuine why don't they use solar?

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    Quite funny that Iran who as far as i know has never invaded another country in recent is being lectured all the time on aggression by another country, namely the UK, which conquered 1/4 of the world's land mass. No wonder they have little enthusiasm.

  • Comment number 187.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    I wouldn't trust the present Iranian regime, period. The conservative Mullah's hate Israel period, & Iran is a danger to the region, even with no nuclear bomb. But I wouldn't be surprised if they have one or two already built & are just agreeing to talks while they continue to fine-tune them. In fact, it's Khamenei & the IRG that rule Iran not Ahmadinejad. So beware of smiling Iranian negotiator!

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    What if this this whole issue is similar to a magician’s misdirection?
    Continually threaten war and destabilization in a volatile area, especially in an American election year.
    Then state (privately) that you will soften your stance if the US doesn’t object to increased settlements and you stealing more Palestinian land.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    I think that Iran has no real aggressive intentions, but loves the fact that it has got six 'world powers' running around scared. I also find it funny when the US (whom have literally thousands of nuclear weapons) demands that Iran can have none, I further believe this is exactly this reason why Iran enjoys messing them about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    Whatever they talk about lets keep the UK out of it for once. If they take a poke at us then that is another matter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    When I hear the word 'nuclear' it sends a chill down my spine. Essentially, we are talking about the lives of millions of people and the destruction of Earth.

    I find it absolutely disturbing that politicians are able to discuss it so casually, often using nuclear threats as a tool to develop foreign policy.

    I think we can all agree that in an ideal word no country would have nuclear capability.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    170. MikeSimplex, your point being??? I believe it was Iraq who invaded Iran at the behest of USA and Israel. The question is what were British naval vessels doing in the persian gulf at that time? Yes you guessed it, fuelling the fire and escalating the war, and supplying weapons to madman Saddam. At the same time supplying weapons to murder black people in South proud??


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