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World powers open talks with Iran to curb nuclear program

Officials of six world powers --the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China-- begin a fresh round of talks with Iran amid hopes of progress toward a deal on Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

(LOS ANGELES TIMES) BAGHDAD - The six world powers opened the meeting at midday Wednesday with a group session led by Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief. The group is expected to outline a proposed interim deal in which Iran would halt production of 20% enriched uranium, which can be purified relatively easily to material that can be used in a nuclear bomb. It would also surrender control of all of the material and dismantle an underground bunker where it is being refined.

In return, the other nations would hold off on further sanctions against Iran and would provide several incentives, including help with Iran's civilian nuclear program.

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Geopolitics

The New Iraq, Signs Of Hope Amid The Rubble And Reconstruction

How do you rebuild a country decimated by four decades of war and embargoes? Following the withdrawal of the U.S. military, Iraq faces many challenges, from oil revenues captured by the militias and endemic corruption to religious segregation. However, there are glimmers of hope for the country's future.

Street scene in Erbil, Iraq

Théophile Simon

BAGHDAD — With a vast office located at the top of a tower fiercely guarded by the army and a bell to call the staff, Khalid Hamza Abbas is obviously a powerful character, decked out in an impeccable suit. Abbas runs the Basra Oil Company (BOC), the national company responsible for the exploitation of the oil fields in the province of Basra, in the very south of Iraq, from which four million barrels of crude oil flow daily. It’s the equivalent of 4% of world demand and 65% of central government revenue concentrated in a region of only four million inhabitants.

As he explains the profit-sharing scheme between the world’s major oil companies and his public enterprise, the 50-year-old with thin glasses is suddenly stopped dead in his tracks by the ringing of his telephone. He tries a joke to mask his suddenly worried face: "I'm going to ask you to leave my office for a few moments. If I haven't called you back in 10 minutes, call the police."

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