The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers have collapsed.
Ashton said on Saturday that the two sides “remain far apart on substance,” after a second and, apparently, final day of negotiations in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said there was no agreement further talks – neither a date nor a place have been set.
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili admitted there were differences between the two sides. He reiterated Iran’s position that it has a right to enrich uranium, and complained that Tehran was not receiving recognition, as well as more concessions from world powers, before agreeing to curtail its uranium enrichment production. He also stated that the demands and the sanctions “are a sign of enmity towards the people of Iran.”
In the two days of meetings in Kazakhstan, the major powers had hoped to reach a compromise with Iran, whom they believe is engaged in a covert effort to produce nuclear bombs.
Delegates from the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany met with Iranian officials on proposals that would have allowed for exceptions to the international sanctions program against Iran, if the Iranians would shut down their nuclear facilities and turn over their stockpile of enriched uranium.
Earlier, a spokesman for Ashton urged Iran to take a “confidence-building step” and reassure the international community it is not engaged in a nuclear weapons program for military purposes.
Iran claims that its nuclear program has only peaceful purposes, namely power generation.
The United States attended the talks with the four other permanent members of the UN Security Council: Britain, France, Russia and China, as well as Germany.