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Iran, world powers set for showdown in Moscow

RUSSIA: World powers resume crisis talks with Iran on Monday amid hope that a crippling oil embargo and pressure from host Russia will finally force the Islamic Republic to scale back its nuclear drive. The two-day meeting follows a bruising May session in Baghdad during which Iran nearly walked out of negotiations aimed ultimately at keeping it from joining the exclusive club of nations with an atomic bomb.

Host Russia however is keen to flex its diplomatic muscle and make Iran an example of how Moscow's influence over Soviet-era partners could be used to avoid foreign military intervention in the 16-month crisis in Syria.

“There are reasons to believe that the next step will be taken in Moscow,” Russia's Deputy Foreign Sergei Ryabkov said. Failure in Moscow could leave the process in tatters and raise the threat of air raids from arch-foe Israel -- a fateful scenario in which broader conflict would lead to a spike in oil prices that could tip over the world's teetering economy.

But a July 1 deadline for a full EU oil embargo and the June 28 rollout of tough US sanctions against a host of Iranian oil clients is providing added pressure for Tehran to bargain more seriously. Two of the biggest bones of contention involve the speed with which world powers lift existing sanctions and the recognition of Iran's “right to enrich” uranium.

AFP

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