Iran talks resume in Baghdad

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Iran and the group of international negotiators – the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany – Thursday started a new round of talks in Baghdad.

Support TwoCircles

The Iranian team is led by Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili, while the delegation of the six world powers is headed by European Union foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton, the Fars news agency reported.

On the first day of the talks Wednesday, Iran put forward a comprehensive package of step-by-step proposals, including five relating to nuclear and non-nuclear cooperation.

The 5+1 members are represented at the talks by Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Ma Zhaoxu, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, Britain’s former ambassador to Iran Geoffrey Adams, Director-General for Political and Security Affairs at the French foreign ministry Jacque Audibert and German Deputy Foreign Minister Hans-Dieter Lucas.

On Tuesday, the US Senate approved a bill imposing new economic sanctions against Iran, in a renewed bid to force it to halt its controversial nuclear programme.

The new sanctions will investigate the role of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in its crude oil exports, and also oblige US-listed companies to report any transactions with Iran to the authorities.

Concerns have been growing in Israel and the West that Iran is seeking to build an atomic bomb, although Tehran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.

In March, US President Barack Obama approved measures allowing Washington to punish countries that continue to buy oil from Iran. Iran has the world’s third-largest oil reserves.

Earlier this year, EU members states agreed to stop importing Iranian oil from July 1. The EU currently accounts for 20 percent of Iran’s oil exports.