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New round of Iran nuclear talks starts in Vienna

Iran argues it needs robust enrichment capacities, while the P5+1 members want significant cuts

Published: Updated:

A new round of talks over Iran’s nuclear program resumed on Tuesday, aimed at settling the decade-old dispute by late July.

Substantial differences are evident in the stances of the negotiating parties, however, as Iran argues it needs robust enrichment capacities to make low-enriched reactor fuel, while the United States, Britain, France and Germany want significant cuts.

A two-day meeting hosting chief negotiators from Iran, the U.S., France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia started this morning at the U.N. complex in Vienna.

"We are involved in very detailed and substantial negotiations and we are trying as hard as we can to drive the process forward," the spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who coordinates the discussions on behalf of the powers, told reporters.

Iran and the six world powers are hoping to start drafting a comprehensive agreement in May, some two months before a July 20 deadline for finalizing the accord.

However, the two sides are still far apart on key issues.

Iran argues it needs robust enrichment capacities to make low-enriched reactor fuel.

The U.S, Britain, France and Germany want significant cuts to limit any potential effort to turn the program into making high-enriched material for nuclear arms. Russia and China are somewhere in the middle, Reuters reported.

Iran denies any interest in atomic arms and it is seeking an end to economic sanctions in return for any nuclear concessions.

A first-step deal, now in effect, curbed some Iranian nuclear activities in return for limited sanctions relief.

(With Reuters and the Associated Press)