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Iran’s nuclear talks deemed success

UN, Iran to discuss disputed nuclear program next month in Baghdad.

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European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton speaks to reporters on April 14, 2012, in Istanbul about Iran's disputed nuclear program. (ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran’s discussions with the United Nations about its disputed nuclear program cleared important hurdles this week, with both sides agreeing to speak again next month, CNN reported.

However, given their starting point, any movement at all was deemed progress.

Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, represented the UN Security Council (plus Germany), while Saeed Jalili spoke for Iran during negotiations in Istanbul.

“We have agreed that the non-proliferation treaty forms a key basis for what must be serious engagement to ensure all the obligations under the treaty are met by Iran while fully respecting Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy,” Ashton said at a press conference today.

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The parties are to meet again on May 23 in Baghdad, what’s being called a significant step in the ongoing debate regarding Iran’s intentions, The Associated Press said.

Iran says its exploring nuclear power and the production of valuable medical isotopes, while critics warn the country is pursing nuclear weapons.

Western nations have imposed economic sanctions, while Israel has threated military intervention to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. 

When they meet next month, the UN will likely ask Iran for further assurances it’s not enriching uranium for warheads.

“We expect that we should enjoy our rights in parallel with our obligations (toward the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty),” Jalili told the AP.

It’s been 15 months since Iran discussed its nuclear program with the UN, Reuters reported.

While Iran said it could withstand sanctions, Dubai-based economist Mohammed Shakeel said the nation is feeling the grip.

“Given that oil revenue accounts for over half of government income, the budget will be under significant strain this year as oil exports fall as a result of sanctions and oil production is cut back by Iran as its pool of buyers begins to shrink,” Shakeel told Reuters.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120414/iran-s-nuclear-talks-deemed-success