April 8, 2013
Iran, world powers ‘far apart’ after new nuke talks
The world powers will pursue further talks with Iran over its nuclear program, but will not continue them indefinitely, John Kerry said a day after another round of talks failed to produce any new proposals.
The talks between Iran and six world powers - the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, ended Saturday in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Kerry made the statement Sunday in Istanbul.
The world powers waited for Iran's response to a proposal under which Iran would halt production of nearly weapons-grade enriched uranium in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions.
In return, Iran said it made a “comprehensive proposal” to “establish a new bedrock for cooperation,” similar to a proposal rejected by the powers in June.
The announcement by Ali Baqeri, deputy head of the Iranian delegation, came following the opening session of talks in Kazakhstan.
Baqeri said that Iran had more than met demands from American and European officials that his country offer a concrete show of willingness to address international concerns about its nuclear program.
“These steps are referred to as confidence-building measures, but they are part of a comprehensive set of measures," Baqeri said.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who led the talks, said the sides “remain far apart on the substance.” No new talks were scheduled.
At the last round of talks in February, the world powers offered a modest easing of international sanctions if Iran takes steps to limit its supply of dangerous enriched uranium. The proposal required Iran to shut its enrichment plant at Fordow.
While Iran says its nuclear program is exclusively for civilian purposes, American, Israeli, European and other Western officials suspect that Tehran is seeking the technology for nuclear weapons.