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Iran defiant entering nuclear talks

Published By United Press International
ALMATY, Kazakhstan, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Iran isn't likely to budge after seeing no real penalty for a nuclear test by North Korea, said officials with knowledge of pending international negotiations.

With Iran and a group of Western nations about to kick off another round of talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Tuesday, most expect Iran's delegation to sit, arms folded, and demand the West give in.

Experts told The New York Times Monday Iran believes the international sanctions have proven weak enough to manage and sees no real threat of greater sanctions or military action given the bark-no-bite response to a nuclear test by North Korea.

"If [the West] wants constructive negotiations, it's better this time they come with a new strategy and credible proposals," Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, told reporters before his departure to Kazakhstan.

Iran has long maintained that its nuclear program is for peaceful domestic energy production. Western allies say it's a cover for developing a nuclear bomb.

Russia's deputy foreign minister predicted little progress would be made in Almaty, but urged Iran to approach the negotiations with a more constructive attitude, TV Novosti said.

"We count upon Iran to arrive in Almaty better prepared from the point of ... finding a real common platform, not the repetition of what everyone already knows," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.
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