Iran nuclear talks round ends with huge setbacks
Iran nuclear talks stalled Friday, casting a shadow on earlier advances and denting hopes that Tehran and six world powers will meet a July 20 target date for a deal meant to curb Iran’s atomic program while ending sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi acknowledged the meeting made “no progress” in its ambitious goal of starting to draft an agreement meant to ease a decade of Western distrust about Tehran’s nuclear agenda in exchange for sanctions relief.
In that, “we failed,” he told reporters. But while saying he was disappointed, he insisted that the result of the three-day talks that ended Friday represented no more than a setback at this point in continuing attempts to reach a deal.
A senior US official — who demanded anonymity — said there was “great difficulty” in trying to move toward common positions and spoke of “significant” differences. Both Araghchi and the official said further meetings were planned in June, but no dates were announced.
Araghchi said that differences remained on more than a dozen issues and a Western official with detailed knowledge of the talks said that enrichment was among the most divisive topic.
The official declined to go into the specifics of what separated the two sides on enrichment and demanded anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the confidential talks.
Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, has said publicly that Tehran needs up to 100,000 centrifuges — the enriching machines — for a future nuclear network.