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Obama: G8 To Combine Sanctions, Diplomacy In Iran Talks

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has welcomed as a "good sign" a planned visit to Tehran by the head of the UN nuclear watchdog.
U.S. President Barack Obama says the leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) remain committed to using a combined approach of sanctions and diplomacy to push Iran to show its nuclear program is peaceful.

Speaking on May 19 at a meeting of the G8 leaders in Camp David near Washington, Obama said, "we are hopeful about the discussions that will be taking place in Baghdad" next week but will continue with "the approach of sanctions and pressure in combination with diplomatic discussions."

Iran earlier in the day said sanctions over its disputed nuclear program should be lifted in the Baghdad talks to take place on May 23.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told the government daily "Iran" that the lifting of sanctions would display "the first signs" that the West is changing its "wrong" approach toward Iran and its nuclear work.

Separately, Iran has welcomed news the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit Tehran.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbari Salehi said the visit of IAEA chief Yukiya Amano was a "good sign" and Tehran hoped it will lead to clearing up questions over Iran's nuclear program.

Iran on May 23 is to meet representatives of the so-called P5+1 group, comprising the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany, in Iraq's capital for the second round of talks that were revived in April in Istanbul after a 15-month impasse.

Ahead of those talks, Iranian officials met IAEA officials in Vienna last week.

No breakthrough, however, was reported.

IAEA officials are pressing Iran to allow access to the Parchin military site, which the UN nuclear watchdog suspects could be used in a nuclear weapons program.

Based on reporting by AFP, dpa, and Press TV

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