Iran talks with world powers hit snag over sanctions
24 May 2012, 14:03
Baghdad- Iran accused
world powers on Wednesday of creating "a difficult atmosphere" that
hindered talks on its atomic energy programme, signalling a snag in
diplomacy to defuse fears of a covert Iranian bid to develop nuclear
The nub of the dispute was not immediately clear as the Baghdad talks entered a second day.
But Iran had served notice that it wanted immediate relief from
economic sanctions as part of any deal to scale back uranium enrichment,
whereas Western powers insisted Tehran must first rein in its activity.
Pro-government Iranian media said Tehran's negotiators were
demanding a principle of "reciprocity" of concessions, which they said
was not on the table in the Baghdad talks.
The United States had voiced cautious hope on Wednesday that Iran
was finally engaging the powers on practical, transparent ways of
showing its nuclear work, marked by years of secrecy and evasions of
U.N. inspections, would be for peaceful ends only.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, heading the
powers' delegation in Baghdad, met her Iranian counterpart on Thursday
before the full plenary session commenced, a Western diplomat said.
But an Iranian delegate poured cold water on suggestions that
progress towards an outline deal, seen as crucial to heading off the
danger of a new Middle East war, was being made.
"What we heard in Istanbul was more interesting," he said,
referring to exploratory talks that ended a 15-month diplomatic deep
freeze during which the West escalated sanctions to target Iran's oil