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Clinton: ´Significant Differences´ With Iran Remain (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 05/25/12) Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/156225#.T7-Ys7Bo2uk
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US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said Friday that "significant differences" remain over Iran´s nuclear program following two days of talks in Baghdad.
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Clinton says the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany – presented Tehran with a detailed proposal on all aspects of Iran´s uranium enrichment during this week´s talks in Baghdad.
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The P5+1 plan reportedly calls on Iran to halt enrichment past 3.5%, ship its stores of 20% enriched uranium out of the country, and shut down its heavily fortified Fordow enrichment facility.
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They had also called on Iran to live up to its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and allow IAEA inspectors unrestricted access to its nuclear sites.
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Iran, she says, put forth its own ideas, and significant differences remain.
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However, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the two sides found "some common ground" and agreed to more talks in Moscow June 18 and 19.
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"As we lay the groundwork for these talks," Clinton said of what will be a third round of talks. "We will keep up the pressure as part of our dual-track approach. All of our sanctions will remain in place and will continue to move forward during this period."
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"Iran now has the choice to make: will it meet its international obligations and give the world confidence in its intentions or not?" she said.
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Of key international concern is Iran´s secretive uranium enrichment program, especially its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity – a key jumping off point for enrichment to 90% weapons grade material.
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Iran says its enrichment work is meant for medical research and generating electricity.
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However, proliferation experts have noted that 3.5% enrichment is all that is needed for power generation, and that Iran has enriched far more uranium to 20% than is needed for medical isotope research.
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Nor, they say, is Iran´s nuclear medicine research industry advanced or robust enough to justify the claim.
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In November 2011, the IAEA released a report citing credible Western intelligence indicating Iran had engaged in - and likely continues to engage in - nuclear research of a military nature.
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The report cited the construction of a high-explosives test chamber at the Parchin military base near Tehran, where IAEA officials believe Iran has been attempting to develop a charge that can detonate nuclear material.
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IAEA chief Yukiya Amano in March charged Iran was engaged in an attempt to cover up nuclear activity of a military nature saying, "Iran is not telling us everything."
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Israeli officials - who are widely believed to be mulling a military strike on Iran´s nuclear facilities - have sharply criticized the talks, saying Iran is using them to stall for time for its nuclear weapons bid.
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Ahead of this week´s round of talks Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu demanded the P5+1 take a tough line with Iran, and not compromise on demands Tehran completely halt uranium enrichment.
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"This is the only way to ensure Iran will not build a nuclear bomb. This is Israel´s position. It has not changed, and it will not change," Netanyahu said.
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He also dismissed gainsayers who claim Iran´s nuclear program poses no threat to Israel, "There is no one who doubts the intentions of Iran." (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 05/25/12)
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