Iran Rejects West's Proposal On Nuclear Curbs, Talks Come To A Standstill

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Talks in Baghdad between representatives of the US, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, China and Iran are aimed at defusing tensions in the region, with Iran seeking a reprieve from crippling sanctions imposed on its energy and banking sectors

The talks between world powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program came to a standstill Thursday as it accused the P5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN and Germany) of creating a difficult atmosphere hindering talks.

The discussion that began in Baghdad Wednesday was intended to stop Iran from continuing with its nuclear program that the West alleges is aimed at developing nuclear weaponry.

Iranian negotiators rejected the proposal by the six world powers, stating that the package offered fell short of a compromise, according to Reuters.

Iran demanded that the sanctions forced on it should be lifted immediately, enabling it to continue with its oil exports while the Western powers insisted that Iran should first shut down the uranium enrichment program.

According to the Western package, Tehran should give up 20 percent enrichment levels - a level considered a step away from warhead grade - in exchange of medical isotopes, some nuclear safety cooperation and spare parts for civilian airliners that are needed in Iran. However, Iran rejected the package as unacceptable, the Associated Press has reported.

 Giving up 20 percent enrichment levels in return for plane spare parts is a joke. The package is unbalanced and therefore unacceptable, Iranian analyst Hassan Abedini was quoted as saying by AP.

Citing Iranian media close to Tehran's delegation, Reuters reported that it was insisting on a principle of reciprocity of concessions they said was promised by the powers in preparatory talks in Istanbul last month but was not guiding the Baghdad negotiations.

However, the Western powers and the US expressed hope on the resumption of talks and said that talks would progress.

By coming to Baghdad and putting on the table a forward-looking package, we are being pro-active, engaging and building on Istanbul. Any negotiation on an issue like this is never going to be straightforward, but it's far too early to give a clear read-out of how things are progressing, a Western diplomat said.

There were two elements to the discussion - Tehran's demand to lift the West's embargo on Iran and a compensation package by the West if Iran obliged to stop its controversial nuclear program.

Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili had come up with a five-point package of proposals covering a wide range of nuclear and non-nuclear issues, the Iranian media reported.

We are not quite sure what these five points are. We are trying to find out. There are no details. Reuters reported a European diplomat as saying.

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