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Iran nuclear talks: Countries to regroup after little progress

Despite two days of intensive negotiations, Iran and six world powers “remain far apart” on Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Saturday in Kazakhstan. Her words dashed hopes that the deadlock might be broken after what had seemed more promising talks back in February, also in the Kazakh city of Almaty. Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, acknowledged there was “some distance” between Iran and the six powers but seemed more positive in his assessment. “Good negotiations” had taken place in this round of talks, Jalili said, which he described as “substantive, expansive and comprehensive.” But in a sign that progress was limited, no date or location has been set for new talks. This round was just the latest in a decade-long attempt to resolve differences between Iran and the international community over Tehran’s nuclear ambitionsThe first day of talks proved inconclusive. By the end of Saturday, despite “long and intensive discussions,” the two sides were no closer on agreeing on confidence-building measures, Ashton told reporters.“It became clear that the positions of (the world powers) and Iran remain far apart on the substance,” she said.“We therefore agreed all sides will go back to their capitals to evaluate where we stand on the process.”Ashton said she would be in touch with Jalili “very soon in order to see how to go forward.”

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