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U.S., Iran foresee challenge to bridge gaps in nuclear talks

English.news.cn   2014-05-14 10:41:43

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L), Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C) and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi (R) attend a session of the 4th round discussion on Iran's nuclear program in Vienna, Austria, May 14, 2014. The 4th round of nuclear talks between Iran and five UN Security Council permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, plus Germany, kicked off on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Qian Yi)
VIENNA, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Both the United States and Iran on Tuesday voiced cautious views on this week's nuclear talks in Vienna, foreseeing difficulties as significant gaps remain unresolved.

However, speaking after the working dinner with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters he believes there is hope for the comprehensive deal concerning Iran's nuclear program.

"This is going to be a difficult and time consuming exercise," Zarif said, ahead of the plenary session of the talks. "I believe everybody hopes that we can achieve this within a reasonable period of time."

Based on the interim deal made in Geneva last November, Iran suspended some sensitive nuclear activities and the West relieved some relevant sanctions in return.

However, the remaining gaps between Iran and the West could pose problems, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday on condition of anonymity. One key issue is thought to be the possible military side to Iran's nuclear programme.

"This process is far, far more difficult even than the joint plan of action," the official said, as "there are some very significant gaps."

The anonymous source also denied the possible negative impact on the negotiation of the Russia-U.S. tensions regarding the Ukrainian crisis, confirming the Russian delegation is cooperating with the United States in the process.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, the P5+1 group, intend to draft a comprehensive deal to resolve the decade-old Iranian nuclear issue in the new round of talks in Vienna.

The Western countries, suspecting Iran's nuclear program doesn't match its civilian utilities, asked Tehran to significantly scale back its nuclear plan to ensure the peaceful nature of its atomic plan, while Tehran insists its nuclear fuel is for generating electricity and research.

The deadline for a solution is late July, but can be extended with the consent of all parties.

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