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Obama hails nuclear talks as good beginning -

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SHANE MCLEOD: The US President Barack Obama says talks overnight between Western powers and Iran
over its nuclear programs are a "constructive beginning".

But he followed that up with a two week deadline for Iran to allow access to the Qom nuclear
enrichment plant which was revealed to the rest of the world only last week.

From Washington John Shovelan reports the US is demanding swift action by the Iranians or else.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Washington was wary of the noises out of Geneva. While they seemed good they were
only noises after all.

Seven years of cat and mouse games with Iran over its nuclear program and US President Barack Obama
wanted more than talk before he was willing to see this as a game changer.

BARACK OBAMA: Iran must demonstrate through concrete steps that it will live up to its
responsibilities with regard to its nuclear program. In pursuit of that goal today's meeting was a
constructive beginning.

JOHN SHOVELAN: From a US perspective the talks were historic. For the first time since 1979 a
senior US diplomat met face to face with an Iranian counterpart. The meeting was what the State
Department calls part of its policy of principled engagement.

Another part of that policy saw the Iranian Foreign Minister make a rare visit to Washington to
inspect Iran's unofficial diplomatic office yesterday.

He met no US officials according to the State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.

IAN KELLY: It was consistent with the President's commitment to principled engagement.

JOHN SHOVELAN: But the White House's engagement with Iran has definite limits. The President today
put a two week deadline on international access to the Qom enrichment site and his spokesman Robert
Gibbs said they wouldn't allow talks to continue for talk's sake.

ROBERT GIBBS: If at any point this appears to simply be the Iranians trying to talk some issue to
death then I think working in concert with and common purpose with our P5 plus 1 partners, we'll
take additional steps to ensure that Iran knows we mean business.

JOHN SHOVELAN: The agreement out of the discussions today in Geneva that Russia or France could
enrich a small amount of Iran's uranium stocks for use as fuel in a civilian research reactor for
medical purposes was, according to President Obama, merely a confidence building measure.

BARACK OBAMA: Taking the step of transferring its low enriched uranium to a third country would be
a step towards building confidence that Iran's program is in fact peaceful.

JOHN SHOVELAN: But this would have no significance according to former UN weapons inspector David
Kay when it came to Iran's enrichment plant.

DAVID KAY: I don't think it guarantees anything about their larger (inaudible) plan. They've
invested so much into that it is really hard to believe that they will walk away from it.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Mr Kay says that he doesn't think the Iranians take the threat of sanctions very
seriously. They have seen a reluctance on the part of Russia and China and to a lesser extent
Germany to impose anything near tough sanctions in the past.

He says we still don't know if there's been any substantial political changes in Tehran that would
change the Iranian attitude on the nuclear issue.

DAVID KAY: What we really don't know is if things in Tehran have really changed; that is have the
Iranians decided rather than be very clever with diplomatic ploys that buy them more time so their
enrichment effort can proceed, are they now on a path that will say, look we're willing to pause
the enrichment efforts. Let's have a series of talks about a number of things that concern us in
the US relationship.

If that's true, look, this is the start of a very important series of meetings. If that's not true
this is more the same.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Iran wants this new round of discussions to include issues other than the nuclear
program, like drug trafficking, the financial meltdown and regional security.

The US is suspicious of Iran's intent in introducing other elements.

John Shovelan, Washington.