Iran Nuclear Talks Begin With 'New Offer'

The six nations' goal: a shutdown of higher-grade uranium enrichment

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted May 23, 2012 7:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Today's the day: Iran is sitting down with six nations to talk nukes, an event that has been described in terms of cautious optimism for days. Now that it's actually here, what's worth knowing, and what should you be watching for? A primer:

  • The talks began about noon local time in Baghdad, and some 15,000 Iraqi cops and troops are surrounding the Green Zone location where they're taking place. That location is a notable one, according to the Guardian, which posits that in suggesting to meet in a country whose leadership is friendly to Tehran, Iran is "testing Western commitment to seeking a deal."

  • First up: presentations. The New York Times reports that the six countries were to first offer a detailed proposal on suggested steps for Iran to take; Iran will then present. A rep tells the Los Angeles Times that the six "put a new offer on the table. We're hoping Iran will react in a good way." No further details were given.
  • The six's main goal centers around making sure Iran isn't trying to build a nuke. That means getting Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20% purity, and export any that it has already enriched to that level. (For context: 5% enrichment create power-plant fuel; 90% creates fuel used for bombs.)
  • The Wall Street Journal reports on what an agreeable Iran could get in return: an easing of sanctions (the Journal specifically references a ban on exports of American spare airline parts) and aid that would support Iran's nuclear power efforts—non-military ones.
  • The term that will make you sound in-the-know: P5+1. It refers to the six nations joining Iran at the table—Germany plus the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the US, Britain, France, Russia, and China).

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and head of Iran's national security council Saeed Jalili poses with European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton before the meeting.
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and head of Iran's national security council Saeed Jalili poses with European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton before the meeting.   (Getty Images)
Traffic snakes through Kahramana Square during a heavy sandstorm in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, May 22, 2012.
Traffic snakes through Kahramana Square during a heavy sandstorm in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, May 22, 2012.   (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Iran's Chief Nuclear Negotiator Saeed Jalili, right, chats with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, May 23, 2012.
Iran's Chief Nuclear Negotiator Saeed Jalili, right, chats with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, May 23, 2012.   (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
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