Thursday, May 24, 2012

Baghdad Talks to Resume Today

The Baghdad Talks entered an unscheduled second day on Thursday, reviewing what appears to be major differences between Iran’s positions and those proposed jointly by the six global powers. No details have been revealed, but the Iranian delegation has reportedly asked the P5+1 to make significant revisions to its joint proposal. An unnamed senior member of the Iranian delegation told AFP today that common ground between the two sides was not sufficient to result in an agreement in Baghdad or for that matter for another round of talks beyond Baghdad. [AFP, 24 May].

Iran’s official news agency IRNA, without revealing any details, has called the P5+1 proposal “outdated, not comprehensive and unbalanced.”  The major powers have reportedly asked Iran to suspend its 20-percent uranium enrichment program and give up the stock of the higher purity fuel in return for guarantees of receiving the fuel in future and various sweeteners, including the suspension of an EU insurance ban on ships carrying Iranian oil and easing Iranian access to aircraft parts.

Iran is believed to have asked for suspension of all sanctions imposed by the UN General Assembly, the US and the EU, and suspension of EU’s oil-related sanctions that will go into full effect at the end of June.

Today’s session is aimed to narrow the differences and produce a preliminary agreement on the gradual steps needed to be taken by both sides to end the decade-old standoff.

Meanwhile, Iran is reportedly ready to sign “quite soon” and implement an additional protocol with the IAEA, defining the agency’s access to Iranian nuclear and relevant military sites. 

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