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Iran is offered new plans to ease nuclear concerns

Last Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 00:32

Baghdad: Diplomats from six world powers offered Iran new proposals on Wednesday to ease international concerns about its nuclear programme, but appeared to reject Tehran`s appeals to ease economic sanctions to help move along talks.

The proposal by the US and its negotiation partners focused on Iran`s highest-level uranium enrichment -- at 20 per cent -- which many world leaders fear could be quickly turned into warhead-grade material. Other details of the plan were not immediately disclosed.

But the proposal may meet a swift refusal from Iran. Its envoys seek agreements to lessen, or at least delay, sanctions that have targeted Iran`s critical oil exports and cut off the country from lucrative European markets.
"We hope the package that we put on the table is attractive to them so they will react positively," Mike Mann, spokesman for the head of the European Union delegation that is leading the talks, told reporters. "It`s up to them to react."
Mann would not discuss whether the 20 per cent level enrichment represented a red line that could again scuttle the negotiations, which had only restarted last month after collapsing in early 2011.

The high-enriched uranium is far above the level needed for energy-producing reactors, but is used in medical research. Iran claims its nuclear programme is only for electricity and medical applications.


First Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 14:29

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