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Iran presses world powers for response to its nuclear proposal

By Paul Richter, Tribune Washington Bureau –

BAGHDAD — Talks between six world powers and Tehran over the disputed Iranian nuclear program went into a second day in Baghdad on Thursday with Iranian negotiators pushing for a fuller response by the powers to its new proposal to resolve the crisis.

An Iranian delegation member told reporters that the group had failed to properly respond to the Iranian proposal, laid down Wednesday. He said that unless the group responded more fully, there was no reason to schedule further meetings.

The government controlled Press TV said prospects for further meetings were “vague and under question” if the powers did not adequately address the plan.

The group includes the United States, Britain, France, Germany China and Russia.

U.S. officials were cautiously hopeful before the talks, citing signs that the Iranians want to resolve international concerns about its nuclear program, which many nations fear is aimed at developing a nuclear weapon.

U.S. officials said Thursday after the talks that though they have bared sharp disagreements, the candid discussion may be an encouraging sign that a difficult but worthwhile negotiation is ahead.

But a failure to schedule another meeting would be taken by many as a bad sign for the diplomacy.

On Thursday morning, Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili met one on one with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton for about 40 minutes. The full group met immediately afterward and officials said more meetings were ahead.

Many of the delegates have needed to return to their home countries, but it is not clear when they will be adjourned.

Baghdad on Thursday was in the grip of a dust storm that has closed the airports at least temporarily.

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