Anticipation builds over talks with Iran

Talks between Iran and six major powers — the first in over a year — will resume today after each power raised the issue of Tehran’s disputed nuclear program in a first round yesterday, a Western official said.

The six states — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany (coordinated by the European Union) — sought the talks to address Iran’s uranium enrichment drive, while Tehran sought to broaden the agenda to global security issues.

Iranian officials at the talks said they were held in a “positive and constructive atmosphere,” according to Iranian state television.

Consultations are already under way on a date for further talks, a European official said.
Tehran says it is enriching uranium only for electricity purposes so it can export more of its bountiful oil.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last week the topic of uranium enrichment was not on the agenda at Geneva.

But the western official said the question was raised by each of the six powers at talks during the morning. It was not immediately known whether Iranian officials addressed the enrichment issue in response.

Following last week’s killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran, Iran raised the question of assassinations and Ashton condemned them, the Western official said.

Analysis:?West should capitulate

Major powers may have to back down on their demand that Iran suspends all uranium enrichment to have any chance of finding a diplomatic solution to years of dispute over the Islamic Republic’s atomic ambitions.

In return, Iran would need to allow the U.N. nuclear watchdog to carry out more intrusive, wider-ranging inspections to make sure it is not secretly developing nuclear weapons.

Even if the United States and its European allies could contemplate such a deal, however, stiff opposition might come from Israel, which calls Iran its gravest security threat.

Some Arab countries are also so alarmed by Iranian power that they have urged Washington to halt Tehran’s nuclear work by force if necessary.


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