US, European allies ready to drop key demands for talks with Iran

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Washington, Apr 14 (ANI): The United States and its European allies are ready to drop a longstanding American demand that Tehran rapidly shut down nuclear facilities during the early phases of negotiations over its atomic programme.

The proposals, exchanged in confidential strategy sessions with European allies, would press Tehran to open up its nuclear program gradually to wide-ranging inspection, accoprding to officials engaged in the negotiations.

The proposals would also allow Iran to continue enriching uranium for some period during the talks, a sharp break in the approach taken by the Bush Administration, which had demanded that Iran halt its enrichment activities, The New York Times reported.

The proposals under consideration would go somewhat beyond President Obama's promise, during the presidential campaign, to open negotiations with Iran "without preconditions."

Officials involved in the discussion said they were being fashioned to draw Iran into nuclear talks that it had so far shunned.

A review of Iran policy that Obama ordered after taking office is still under way, and aides say it is not clear how long he would be willing to allow Iran to continue its fuel production, and at what pace.

But European officials said that in talks with Obama and his aides during his trip to Europe, there was agreement that Iran would not accept the kind of immediate shutdown of its facilities that the Bush Administration had demanded.

"We have all agreed that is simply not going to work - experience tells us the Iranians are not going to buy it," said a senior European official involved in the strategy sessions with the Obama administration.

"So we are going to start with some interim steps, to build a little trust."

If the United States and its allies allow Iran to continue enriching uranium for a number of months, or longer, the approach is bound to meet objections, from both conservatives in the United States and from the new Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (ANI)

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