Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili speaks after the negotiations in Baghdad.
Two days of discussion over Iran’s nuclear program ended in uncertainty Thursday, with Iran maintaining it has the right to enrich nuclear fuel and the lead negotiator for the European Union stating vaguely that “significant problems remain” with the Iranian position. Negotiations are set to resume in June.
Iran balked at the refusal of the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany—the countries that make up one negotiating bloc—to let up on economic sanctions due to be imposed on Iranian oil exports and banking transactions in July.
The bloc of six hope the sanctions will persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent purity, which can be easily made into a nuclear weapon. —ARK
The New York Times:
Western diplomats said the proposal presented to Iran was meant partly to buy more time for more comprehensive and detailed negotiations with Iran on the nature of its nuclear program. Their priority was to cap Iran’s growing stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent. Iran says the uranium is for fuel for medical reactors, but Western diplomats say the Iranians already have many times more than they need, furthering suspicions about Iran’s motivations despite its repeated assertions that the enrichment program is peaceful.
The six powers also want Iran to export its current stockpile of 20 percent uranium and, down the road, to dismantle the once-secret Fordo enrichment plant, buried deep inside a mountain near the holy city of Qum, that is producing it.