World powers and Iran start nuclear talks amid Crimea tensions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) speaks next to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton during a news conference at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva November 10, 2013. (Reuters)

Iran and six world powers started a round of talks in Vienna on Tuesday, hoping to make progress in their years-old dispute over Tehran's nuclear intentions despite a crisis over Crimea that has fuelled tensions among the powers.

The powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - want Iran to curtail its nuclear program to the point when they would feel secure it could not yield bombs.

Tehran, a major oil producer which says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful, wants the West to lift economic sanctions, particularly against its oil and banking sectors.

The sides hope to have a deal done by the middle of July but diplomats are wary that a conflict between the West and Russia over Moscow's takeover of the Ukrainian region of Crimea could complicate the talks.

Last Update: Tuesday, 18 March 2014 KSA 13:23 - GMT 10:23