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Obama says Iran must take 'concrete steps' on nuclear issues

The talks in Geneva were historic, but some experts say Iran gained prestige without having to concede much.

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"I will count it as a positive sign when it moves from gestures and engagements to actions and results," she added.

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Going into Thursday's talks, the US had said it wanted Iran to accept "in weeks, not months" inspections of a nuclear facility near the holy city of Qom that the Iranians only declared last week. In his statement, Obama said the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, would visit Tehran in "coming days" to set up the inspections.

That may sound good, the ISIS's Albright says, but he notes that any delay allows Iran "to destroy evidence" and move installations to render inspections at least less useful. "So that's not a victory for the US at all," he says.

More broadly, the US and its partners at the table – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany – wanted indications that Iran is open to halting its uranium-enrichment activity, which Western powers believe is aimed at producing fuel for nuclear weapons.

The US appeared to get results on both points.

Iran wants to buy enriched uranium

Ahmadinejad said Iran's nuclear scientists "are ready to negotiate with countries willing to sell us enriched uranium." Tehran had rejected an earlier offer from Russia to supply the fuel Iran would need to run its reactors, including one Russia is building in Bushehr.

Again, Albright says Iran's gesture may be less than meets the eye. "If Iran doesn't accept a framework for getting to suspension [of uranium enrichment], the US has failed," he says.

Thursday's talks included a rare US-Iran bilateral meeting on the margins of the lunch.

Mr. Burns told Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, that the international community expects Iran to live up to its obligations to demonstrate that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes, according to Robert Wood, deputy State Department spokesman.

Burns, who had participated in the last international talks with Iran on its nuclear program in July 2008 as an observer, also raised other non-nuclear issues, including human rights, Mr. Wood said.


Is Iran hiding other secret nuclear sites?

Iran may have built a shadow infrastructure to provide the raw material for building nuclear weapons. More here.


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