No headway in Iran nuclear talks

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 18:35

Zeenews Bureau

Moscow: There was no headway on the second day of talks on Tuesday between Iran and world powers, with both sides accusing each other of lack of progress in negotiations on Tehran`s nuclear program.

The deadlock in talks has scuttled any hopes of a breakthrough in order to avoid a possible new Middle East war.

On the final day of talks in Moscow, frustration mounted over the failure to move any closer to ending a decade of negotiations over Iranian work which the United States and its allies fear is designed for building nuclear weapons, reported a news agency.

If talks collapse, nerves could grow on financial markets over the danger of higher oil prices and conflict in the Middle East because Israel has threatened to bomb Iranian nuclear sites if diplomacy fails to stop Tehran getting the bomb.

"We did not come to Moscow only for discussions. We came to Moscow for a resolution. But we believe the opposite side is not ready to reach a resolution," an Iranian diplomat said.

Iran says its nuclear program has only non-military purposes but the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany want Tehran to stop enriching uranium to levels that bring it close to acquiring weapons-grade material.

Iran`s negotiators want relief from economic sanctions and are pushing the six powers to acknowledge its right to enrich uranium, something they refuse to do until Tehran allows United Nations inspections of its work.

A spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is leading the world powers` delegation, said Monday`s talks had been intense and tough.

A Western diplomat made clear late on Monday Iran needed to do more to address proposals made by the six powers at the last round of talks.

"Our key requirements are: stop, shut and ship," said the Western diplomat, who was present at the talks.

He was referring to demands for Iran to stop producing higher-grade uranium, ship any stockpile out of the country and close down an underground enrichment facility, Fordow.

But an Iranian official said Tehran`s delegation had made detailed proposals on the first day of talks and the six powers had responded with one-line answers that lacked any depth.

"Our feeling is that the agenda this group is following is not suitable for the arguments that Iran was making," he said. "We believe we are at a crossroads. And today the other side has to choose a path."

(With Agency inputs)

First Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 18:35

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