0615 GMT: Nuclear Watch. The news from the first day of the talks between Iran and the 5+1 Powers in Kazakhstan was that there was next-to-no news.
The line from Western officials, which still told us little, was that the 5+1 Powers offered "limited sanctions relief" in return for the closure of the Fordoo enrichment plant, which produces 20% uranium.
That appears to be only a small shift from the US-European proposal, in the last high-level talks in June 2012, of "stop, ship, and shut" to halt Tehran's 20% programme and move the fuel out of the country. The Western officials did not specify the sanctions to be eased, but "limited" points to a suggestion --- floated last week by US and European sources --- that American restrictions on the transfer of gold and metals to Iran, imposed only on 6 February, can be lifted.
Tehran has already signalled that the retraction of this month's sanctions is far too little in exchange for the move away from 20% enrichment.
The main effort of the Western officials appeared not to be the flagging of a "pathway" to a settlement but to put the responsibility for any lack of progress of Tehran :
Iranian negotiators did not immediately respond to the P5+1's demand that Tehran closes its underground nuclear facility Fordoo...."Hopefully the Iranians will be able to reflect overnight and will come back and view our proposal positively," said a spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton who oversees Iranian diplomacy for the six powers.
For its part, Tehran only said that it had put a substantial proposal on the table, without offering any details.EA WorldView: EA Iran