Nuclear talks in Vienna ‘useful,’ says Iran

Major technical issues were addressed in expert-level meeting, says Tehran

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Expert-level nuclear talks with world powers in Vienna were “useful,” after the parties involved addressed all major technical issues in the way of a final settlement, Iran said on Saturday.

“The meetings were useful, raised mutual insight into our differing positions,” Reuters quoted Iranian negotiator Hamid Baeedinejad as telling the official IRNA news agency at the end of the three-day talks in the Austrian capital.

“Everyone came well-prepared ... addressing issues in minute technical details can facilitate hard political decisions,” he added.

Results of the meeting will be submitted on Monday to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who acts on behalf of the six world powers involved in negotiations - the United States, France, Germany, Russia, China and Britain.

Ashton and Zarif are to hold their third round of high-level nuclear talks on April 8-9 in Vienna, part of efforts to reach a comprehensive agreement by late July.

It seeks to limit Iran’s controversial uranium enrichment activities in return for a lifting of economic sanctions.

Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi was quoted as saying by IRNA that “all technical issues needing deeper experts’ studies, including the heavy-water Arak reactor, are being addressed at the latest round of talks.

“Talks will continue on enrichment and other [sensitive] issues until final settlement,” he added.

Western officials say however wide differences remain between the two sides.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported Saturday that the final drafting for a nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran will start next month.

The official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said negotiators were to meet again next week in Vienna and expressed hope that a comprehensive pact could be reached in July.

More than a decade of deadlocked diplomacy ended last year with an interim agreement providing Iran limited easing of international sanctions for strict limits on its uranium enrichment and potential plutonium production - materials that can be used in nuclear warheads.

So far, the Obama administration and the United Nations say Iran has honored the six-month agreement.

(With Reuters and Associated Press)

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