EU tells defiant Iran 'must' suspend atom activity

May 7, 2012 20:32

VIENNA/BRUSSELS - The European Union told Iran on Monday it "must" suspend uranium enrichment, a few days after the Islamic state ruled out doing just that, as Tehran and the West engaged in diplomatic shadow-boxing ahead of nuclear talks this month.

The United States called on Iran to take "urgent practical steps" to build confidence during negotiations with world powers on Tehran's nuclear program, which Washington and its allies suspect is a bid to develop atomic bomb capability.

Iran, attending an international conference in Vienna alongside its Western foes, for its part accused the United States of supporting Israel's atomic activities. The Jewish state is widely assumed to hold the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal.

Iran and the six major powers resumed discussions last month in Istanbul after a gap of more than a year - a chance to ease escalating tension and avert the threat of a new Middle East war - and both sides described the atmosphere as positive.

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