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Baghdad nuclear talks: Iran seeks concessions

Iran sought concessions as it met with six world powers in Baghdad to discuss its nuclear program.

Iran nuclear talks baghdad concessions may 2012Enlarge
European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton of the UK (front L) walks with Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari before their meeting on May 23, 2012 in Baghdad, Iraq. Representatives from the P5+1 group of nations are meeting in Baghdad to hold talks aimed at persuading Iran to suspend their nuclear program. (Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran was offered a new batch of incentives to scale back its nuclear program by the five world powers present at the nuclear talks in Baghdad on Wednesday, according to Agence France Presse.

The proposal by the P5+1 countries, the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, would not provide relief from sanctions which Tehran is after, said AFP, but it was still "of interest to Iran," according to a spokesman.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's spokesman said: "There are things we can do for Iran. We hope the Iranians will come back with a positive reaction to our proposals to deal with the concerns of the international community," according to AFP.

No details were provided, but media reports suggest the concessions could include reviving a deal in which Iran would ship its enriched uranium in exchange for fuel for a reactor used for medical purposes, easing Iran's access to aircraft parts and more.

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The Iranian Students' News Agency said Iran presented the P5+1 group with a package of proposals, including nuclear and non-nuclear issues, according to Reuters. The report said, "In the first session, the P5+1 presented its proposals to Iran, but apparently from the Iranian point of view this package is not balanced," without citing a source.

The Associated Press noted that no breakthroughs are expected in the talks, which will be a gauge of how much the US and its allies are willing to accommodate demands for Iran to halt uranium enrichment.

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The proposals offered to Tehran are aimed at curbing the highest levels of uranium enrichment, which could potentially be used for nuclear warheads, said the AP. The goal for Iranian envoys is to lessen the sanctions aimed at Iran's oil exports which have barred it from lucrative European markets.

On Tuesday, Iran tentatively agreed to allow UN inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency into a military site suspected of being used for nuclear arms tests.

US Sens. Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman and John McCain published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in which they warned that Iran might be using the talks as a stalling tactic. They wrote: "The Iranian regime's long record of deceit and defiance should make us extremely cautious about its willingness to engage in good-faith diplomacy," according to The Hill.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120523/baghdad-nuclear-talks-iran-seeks-concessions