Iran and world powers failed to reach an accord on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in talks that ended last night, dragging out a decade-long dispute that threatens to escalate with new sanctions or military threats against Iran.
“We’ve talked in greater detail than ever before,” with a “real back and forward between us,” though the two sides “remain far apart in substance,” European Union foreign policy chiefCatherine Ashton told reporters after two days of negotiations in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Ashton said diplomats from the six powers — the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — will go back to their capitals to consult on next steps, though they didn’t set a date and place for the next round of talks.
Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili said the talks were “substantive, intensive and comprehensive,” and said the other countries “weren’t ready” to accept Iran’s proposal. While Western officials said it is for Iran to make the first concessions, Jalili said the other side must prove its sincerity and show what Iran stands to gain at the end of the process.
Failure to advance talks will add to pressure on Iran, which is already subject to dozens of sanctions to punish its nuclear program, including curbs on financial transactions crude oil exports that are its main source of revenue.
The U.S. and Israel have threatened military strikes to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon if diplomacy doesn’t work. Iran insists its atomic program is for energy and medical research; world powers suspect Iran of seeking a covert nuclear weapons capability.
Source: BLOOMBERG NEWS