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No understanding reached between Iran and world powers

High-level talks about Tehran’s nuclear programme were held in Almaty, Kazakhstan this weekend.

A missile is launched during an Iranian army exercise in central Iran, Thursday, 14 March 14 2013
A missile is launched during an Iranian army exercise in central Iran, Thursday, 14 March 14 2013
Image: Hadi Yazdani/AP/Press Association Images

EUROPE AND RUSSIA have confirmed that an agreement, or even a mutual understanding, eludes world powers and Iran in the latest round of nuclear talks that have come to an end in Kazakhstan this afternoon.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters in Almaty today that the positions of the P5+1 and Iran remained “far apart” during discussions to end the tensions over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the two sides had failed to find “mutual understanding”, as well as a time and place for the next negotiations.

Talks have been held over the past 48 hours, where the EU put forward what it described as “clear and concise proposals for confidence building measures” as part of a plan to tackle concerns about Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Iranian negotiators are led by Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili. Ashton had hoped to reach an agreement with Dr Jalili during the fourth round of talks.

Over the past two days, Tehran was asked to give up its most sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for an easing of sanctions.

The P5+1 group comprises the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Russia, China, the UK and France – plus Germany.

Ashton said all sides will now go back to their respective capital cities to evaluate “where we stand in the process”.

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She said she will be “in touch with Dr Jailii soon in order to see how to go forward”.

-Additional reporting by AFP

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