BEIRUT

Middle East

Diplomats: Iran nuke talks make little progress

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wait to begin talks in Vienna July 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader)

VIENNA: Talks over Iran's nuclear program are making little headway, with Tehran resisting U.S.-led efforts to crimp activities that could be turned toward making weapons, diplomats said Monday.

As negotiations move closer to a July 20 target date for a deal, both sides are trying to plug holes in a sketchy draft agreement.

Five days into the latest round of talks between Iran and six global powers, two diplomats told The Associated Press that there is still a disagreement on the constraints Iran is ready to accept in exchange for a full end to sanctions stifling its economy. The diplomats demanded anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the confidential negotiations.

The biggest hurdle remains uranium enrichment, a process that can make reactor fuel or the core of a nuclear weapon depending on the grade of material produced. Iran, which insists it does not want such arms, now has nearly 20,000 centrifuges either on standby or churning out reactor-grade fuel.

Tehran has long demanded that it be allowed to run up to 50,000 centrifuges to power its one existing nuclear reactor, and the two diplomats said that Monday's expert talks began with no formal change in that position.

The United States wants no more than a small fraction of that number. Its strongest backers at the negotiating table are Britain, France and Germany, with Russia and China leaning to agreeing on any deal acceptable to Tehran and Washington.

The diplomats said that there's still disagreement over how to minimize proliferation dangers from a nearly built reactor that would produce substantial amounts of plutonium - like enriched uranium, a potential pathway to nuclear arms.

In addition, Iran is resisting pressure to turn an enrichment site dug into a mountain as protection against air attack to another use, they said. Differences also exist over the length of any agreement placing limits on Tehran's nuclear activities.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

Talks over Iran's nuclear program are making little headway, with Tehran resisting U.S.-led efforts to crimp activities that could be turned toward making weapons, diplomats said Monday.

Five days into the latest round of talks between Iran and six global powers, two diplomats told The Associated Press that there is still a disagreement on the constraints Iran is ready to accept in exchange for a full end to sanctions stifling its economy. The diplomats demanded anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the confidential negotiations.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here