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Iran, world powers seek to break nuclear deadlock

Iran, world powers seek to break nuclear deadlock

Moscow: Iran and world powers today dug in for a second day of attritional talks in Moscow aimed at breaking an increasingly risky deadlock in the decade-long crisis over the Iranian nuclear programme.

With the United States and Israel refusing to rule out military action and Tehran facing severe economic sanctions, the price of failure in the Russian capital could be high but there was no sign of progress on the first day.

Negotiators from the six world powers asked Iran to scale back its enrichment of uranium, a process which can be used to make nuclear fuel but also the explosive core of a nuclear bomb.

But Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili responded with a five-point powerpoint presentation listing Iran's own demands, an EU official said, apparently leaving both sides talking at cross purposes.

"The main stumbling block is the fact the positions of the sides are rather complicated and hard to reconcile," the Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying after first round yesterday.

EU delegation spokesman Michael Mann indicated all had not been harmonious: "We had an intense and tough exchange of views."

The talks were due to resume at 0800 GMT with the Iranian side expecting their counterparts to come up with answers to the points that had been laid out the day earlier.

"The P5+1 group will today announce its position on Iran's proposals, and specifically about the issue of Iran's enrichment right," Jalili's deputy Ali Bagheri told the Mehr news agency.

The world powers are the so-called "P5+1" -- permanent UN Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany -- with their negotiating team led by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.


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