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Iran N-deal over uranium stockpile ends in deadlock

Last Updated: Friday, May 25, 2012 - 18:13

Tehran: Iran and the world’s six leading powers over the former’s nuclear stockpile have collapsed after two days of negotiations in Baghdad.

The talks were viewed as a crucial opportunity to ease global tensions over Iran``s reserve of uranium enriched to 20 per cent purity, the level from which it could quickly produce material for a nuclear weapon.

The International Contact group, consisting of the Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany and chaired by Baroness Ashton, the European Union``s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, will now meet again next month to discuss over the issue with Iran.

The United Nation’s Security Council’s five permanent members, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China along with Germany, had initially proposed that Iran hand over its stockpile of 20 per cent enriched uranium in return for to easing international sanctions.

Baroness Ashton, she said that while Iran is willing to "address" the question over its 20 per cent enriched uranium; "significant differences" between the two sides remain.

“We have found some common ground. We remain resolved to resolve this problem in the near-term though negotiations,” The Telegraph quoted Baroness Ashton, as saying.

Iran has disclosed that it has increased the number of centrifuges inside its latest nuclear facility by almost 50 per cent since February.

A International Atomic Energy Agency report has revealed that over 1,000 machines for enriching uranium have been installed inside the Fordow Plant compared with 696, three months ago.

This evidence that Iran is steadily increasing its enrichment capacity will raise concerns that Tehran is playing for time to expand its nuclear programme.

However, Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief negotiator has demanded withdrawal of all economic sanctions to enable Tehran to consider any concessions. He also added that it was Iran`s "right" to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful application.

"This is an undeniable right of the Iranian nation, especially the right to enrich uranium," he said.

The two sides then reached a mutual consensus to meet again in Moscow on June 18.


First Published: Friday, May 25, 2012 - 18:13
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