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UN's nuclear agency, Iran begin critical meeting ahead of Baghdad talks

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Tehran rejected the insinuations in the study, Reuters reports. "They are joking with our nation," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, as quoted by the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA). "It is not possible to 'wash' nuclear activities," he said.

Western diplomats told Reuters they don't expect Tehran to grant their request for access to Parchin. Iran wants a more comprehensive agreement with the IAEA before it allows its inspectors into the site. 

Stakes are high for next week's meeting in Baghdad. EU Foreign Policy head Catherine Ashton said on May 11 that she hoped "to achieve 'the beginnings of the end'" at the meeting, The New York Times reports.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Reuters that the European Union wants proof that Iran is taking steps to reassure the international community it is not pursuing a military nuclear program and that if it fails to do so, the EU will consider further sanctions. "Now we wait to see some concrete steps and proposals from Iran," Mr. Hague told reporters. "Without that, of course we have sanctions we have imposed. They will not only be enforced but, over time, intensified."

Among other sanctions, Iran faces the July 1 implementation of an EU-wide ban on importing Iranian oil. 

Yesterday Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, warned against putting pressure on Iran, saying such actions could scuttle the Baghdad talks. "The era of a pressure strategy is ended. Any strategic miscalculations would endanger success at the Baghdad negotiations," he said, telling Western officials to refrain from making "unconstructive remarks," according to Reuters. 

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