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Big powers to offer easing gold sanctions at Iran nuclear talks

Published on Feb 16, 2013 9:25 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Major powers are planning to ease sanctions barring trade in gold and other precious metals with Iran in return for steps to shut down its newly expanded Fordow uranium enrichment plant.

Western officials said the offer would be presented to Iran on Feb 26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, acknowledging that it represented a relatively modest update to proposals that the six major powers put forward last year.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officials said their decision not to make a dramatically new offer in part reflected scepticism that Iran was ready to make a deal ahead of its June 14 presidential election.

The group, which includes Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - known as the P5+1 - wants Iran to do more to prove that its nuclear programme was for only non-military purposes and to permit wider United Nations inspections.

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