BEIRUT

Middle East

Hague: Iran nuclear talks sides far apart

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague speaks during a news conference in Mumbai July 7, 2014. (REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade)

VIENNA: Significant differences remain between the six world powers and Iran in negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program, British Foreign Minister William Hague told an Austrian newspaper.

In an interview conducted by the Wiener Zeitung via email Wednesday and published Thursday, Hague said a deal was far from certain but that all possibilities should be exhausted in a final round of talks now taking place in Vienna.

Iran and the powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China - aim to reach a long-term deal to end the decade-old standoff by a self-imposed July 20 deadline. Some diplomats and analysts believe an extension may be needed in view of the still-wide gaps in negotiating positions.

"Achieving an agreement is far from certain," Hague said. "Significant differences remain ... which are yet to be bridged. But I am convinced that the current negotiations are the best opportunity we have had in years to resolve this issue."

The West fears that Iran has been seeking to develop nuclear capability to make bombs. Iran says its nuclear program is an entirely peaceful project to generate electricity. The powers want Iran to significantly scale back its activities.

 

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