Iran nuclear talks enter second day | News | DW | 24.05.2012
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Iran nuclear talks enter second day

Talks aimed at resolving tensions over Iran's nuclear program are entering an unscheduled second day. However, both sides remain at odds over a demand that Tehran stop a process of uranium enrichment.

The negotiations in Baghdad were expected to continue on Thursday, despite new proposals from the West being described by Tehran as "not useful."

The so-called P5+1 group of powers, including Germany, presented a package that demanded a halt to Iran's project to enrich uranium to a 20 percent level.

Such refining of the process would make the production of weapons-grade material more possible, although Iran denies its program has a military application.

"We hope that the Iranians will come back with a positive reaction to our proposals," said EU spokesman Michael Mann, on behalf of the P5+1 group.

Iran skeptical

An Iranian flag flutters in front of the reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant

Iran claims its nuclear program is for civilian purposes

However, Iran appeared to reject the demand outright. "The proposals contain nothing new, they are unbalanced and therefore they are not useful," the state-run news agency IRNA cited an Iranian delegation source as saying.

The P5+1 group includes the five permanent UN Security Council members - Britain, China France, Russia and the US – as well as Germany. Talks on Wednesday were being led by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Enrichment of uranium to make it 20 percent "fissile" - capable of sustaining a chain reaction - is viewed as indicative of Tehran overcoming key technical hurdles in manufacturing 90 percent weapons-grade material.

Iran claims to be enhancing fissile purity to a level necessary for medical research and has repeatedly ruled out suspending its enrichment program in accordance with several UN Security Council resolutions.

rc/slk (AP, dpa, Reuters)