Iran, world powers still far apart on core issues

Last Updated: Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 12:44

Vienna: Gaps have not been bridged on some key issues in the nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers due to the "inadequate and unworkable" positions Iran holds, a senior US official said.

After one-week intensive negotiations in the capital city of Austria, Iran and the so-called P5+1 states (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) made some progress but on some key issues Iran and world powers remained far apart, Xinhua reported.

"We made some progress, but on some key issues Iran has yet to move from their prospective unworkable and inadequate positions," the senior US official told reporters in here Saturday.

Under the interim deal in Geneva in November last year, Iran agreed to suspend some sensitive nuclear activities in exchange of limited sanction relief in duration of six months to buy time for the diplomatic effort to resolve the issue.

The six world powers were now working with Iran in Vienna to find a comprehensive solution to resolve the decade-long standoff between Iran and the West over Tehran`s nuclear programme by the deadline July 20.

The West wants Iran to significantly scale back its nuclear programme to address its concern of proliferation risk, while Iran insists its nuclear right is inalienable.

The US official said Iran`s demand of uranium enrichment capacity in the future, which was announced by Tehran`s leader, was far beyond the powers` limit, indicating the positions between Iran and powers were still far apart on the uranium enrichment, the core issue of the talks.

Iran`s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that Iran needs 190,000 separative work units (SWUs) for uranium enrichment, many times higher than the West currently wants to allow under a comprehensive agreement.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said last month that Iran could retain "several hundred centrifuges" but he revealed that the Iranians were asking for "hundreds of thousands."

Iran currently has installed 19,000 centrifuges, of which 10,190 were operating.

The world powers fear Tehran could produce nuclear fuel for nuclear weapon by uranium enrichment, which Iran said is only for nuclear power plant.

The US official also noted the duration of the comprehensive deal could take over 10 years.


First Published: Sunday, July 13, 2014 - 12:44

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