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Iran talks show common ground, disagreement

Reuters

May 23, 2012 | 5:41 pm

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton heads a meeting between Iran and six world powers in Baghdad on May 23. Photo by REUTERS/Government Spokesman Office

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton heads a meeting between Iran and six world powers in Baghdad on May 23. Photo by REUTERS/Government Spokesman Office

A first day of talks between Iran and world powers about a nuclear program that the West suspects is aimed at nuclear bomb research showed a “fair amount of disagreement” but also areas of common ground, a senior U.S. official said.

“I believe we have the beginning of a negotiation,” the official said of the talks, which opened on Wednesday and lasted late into the evening. “But still we have to come to closure…about what are the next appropriate steps.”

Iran was “engaged” in the discussions, and the meeting would continue into a second day on Thursday, the official said, adding that there was “plenty to go on” for a potential further round of talks.

Earlier on Wednesday, envoys for Iran and the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany exchanged unusually detailed proposals at the talks in Baghdad in hopes of defusing a long standoff over suspicions Tehran’s atomic energy program may be a disguised quest for nuclear weapons.

Both sides have been publicly upbeat about the scope for an outline deal following a 15-month diplomatic freeze and exploratory talks in Istanbul last month.

Reporting by Andrew Quinn; Editing by Michael Roddy

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