Ashton’s visit to Tehran comes ahead of the next round of nuclear talks. (AP Photo/Mohammad Berno, Iranian Presidency Office)
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EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton cautioned Sunday that reaching a long-term nuclear deal with Iran would be "difficult," as she visited Tehran to tackle thorny issues including human rights and the conflict in Syria.Achieving a comprehensive nuclear agreement will be "difficult, challenging," Ashton said during a joint news conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Ashton arrived in Tehran late Saturday and held separate talks Sunday with Zarif, President Hassan Rouhani and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.The visit is the first by a European Union foreign policy chief to Iran since 2008 and comes after Tehran in November signed an interim agreement to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for limited sanctions relief.Among the issues Ashton raised during her talks in Tehran was the conflict in Syria, where Iran supports the embattled regime of President Bashar Assad.Iranian officials said Ashton would visit historical sites in the central city of Isfahan Monday before departing Iran.
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