Iran and the so-called P5+1 powers have met for talks over Iran's program, with negotiators complaining that Tehran has not responded to their proposals. The talks are aimed at curbing Iran's uranium-enrichment program.
The P5+1 countries, Germany among them, are seeking answers at the talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, about a nuclear program that Iran insists is peaceful but world powers fear may hide some military dimensions.
The country must now accept a series of demands that include curbing enrichment activities in exchange for concessions that would ease UN sanctions that have choked the country's economy and seen its currency plummet.
"Our offer is fair and balanced, and we therefore hope that Iran will come forward with a concrete response," said Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. "Iran should reassure the international community that it is only interested in peaceful nuclear activities without any military dimensions," he added.
Ashton heads the group of the five veto-holding permanent members of the Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - plus Germany. The Iranian delegation is headed by chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.
Iran announced that Jalili had opened the negotiations by presenting a three-point outline of its vision for resolving the dispute.
"At this morning's meeting, his excellency Dr. Jalili presented specific plans and proposals for starting a new round of cooperation between Iran" and the world powers, his deputy, Ali Bagheri, told reporters after the first plenary session wound down after three hours.
Representatives of the P5+1 nations told news agencies, however, that the plan was just a rehash of old ideas that had already been cast aside at a meeting last year in Moscow.
mkg/rc (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)