ByÂ HERB KEINON, HILARY LEILA KRIEGER IN WASHINGTON
Israel watched the meeting in Baghdad that began on Wednesday between Iran and six world powers carefully, but refrained from commenting on the content because it was not immediately clear where the talks were headed.
Iran and the P5+1 â€“ the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany â€“ exchanged unusually detailed proposals, though no breakthrough appeared to be in the offing. Notable differences remained over when Iran would be rewarded with relief from economic sanctions.
As the talks got under way, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaâ€™alon said that Tehran was â€œtoying with the worldâ€ to gain time. Among the ministers inside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahuâ€™s inner cabinet, he is considered to be taking a more cautious approach to military action against Iran.
â€œTight sanctions must continue, alongside international isolation, support for the opposition and a credible military option,â€ he said. â€œ[The] military option can be prevented if all the other measures are taken. But if none of that helps, someone might then have to take military action against Iran.â€
The two sides, according to a Western diplomat, â€œhad a detailed exchange this morning,â€ and â€œthe atmosphere was businesslike.â€
In the afternoon, another diplomat said, Iran reacted to the offers and â€œalso broadened out the discussions to touch on other areas we see as non-core issues.â€
Iranian media close to the Tehran government said its chief negotiator Saeed Jalili presented a five-point package covering a â€œcomprehensiveâ€ range of nuclear and nonnuclear issues.
The official news agency IRNA sounded a note of discord by quoting Iranian officials referring to the big-power proposal as â€œnitpickingâ€ while student news agency ISNA said: â€œApparently from the Iranian point of view this package is not balanced.â€
However, those leaks did not appear to be Tehranâ€™s final response as the talks ran on into the evening.
In Washington, US officials said they expected Iran to take steps to rein in its nuclear program before the West makes reciprocal gestures.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the world powers â€œput forward a detailed proposal, which includes confidence-building measures that can pave the way for Iran to demonstrate that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.â€ She said that part of this proposal included â€œstep-by-step reciprocal steps aimed at near-term action on our part if Iran takes it own steps.â€
To read more, visit:Â http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=271215
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