World leaders meet in Almaty to discuss Iranian nuclear program

Several of the world's major powers are hoping Iran will respond to their latest offer to reduce economic sanctions in exchange for Tehran scaling back its nuclear activity.

The United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China and Russia presented an offer while meeting in Almaty. It was their first meeting together with Iran in eight months. A spokesmen for the powers said that Iran was currently taking the offer under consideration, according to Reuters.

Western officials described the first day of talks as being useful. One official said that Iran has started to discuss aspects of the offer in bilateral talks with Great Britain, Germany and Russia.

No indication was given as to how Tehran viewed the offer, but Iranian state television called the discussions serious.

"Hopefully the Iranians will be able to reflect overnight and will come back and view our proposal positively," a spokesman for European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said, Reuters reports.

Israel will likely be watching the outcome of the two-day meeting in Kazakhstan very closely. It has strongly hinted that it could attack Iranian nuclear sites should diplomatic efforts fail to produce a resolution to the impasse. Israel believes Iran is enriching uranium in order to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran says it wishes to produce nuclear energy in order to export more fossil fuels, according to Reuters.