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Tehran: Significant gaps remain in nuclear talks

A top Iranian nuclear negotiator says significant disagreements remain in the ongoing talks between Iran and the P5+1 aimed at reaching a comprehensive agreement on Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

“There are differences in almost all important issues and we have not been able to narrow the gaps in any [such] issues,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi said on Sunday.

He added that both Iran and the P5+1 have put forth a number of proposals to settle the differences on some issues, but they have not been agreed upon yet.

The senior negotiator noted that the issue of uranium enrichment is still a bone of contention in the talks.

“Given the sensitivity of the issue of enrichment and its capacity and volume, we have failed to reach an agreement so far,” Araqchi said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who arrived in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on Sunday to join the ongoing nuclear talks, also said there are still major differences between the two sides.

Speaking to reporters upon his arrival, he said, “Obviously we have some very significant gaps still, so we need to see if we can make some progress.”

Ahead of Sunday talks, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met in Vienna.

On July 3, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China – plus Germany formally kicked off their sixth round of talks this year in Vienna.

Iran and the six countries have been discussing ways to sort out differences and achieve a final deal that would end the decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program.

The two sides sealed an interim deal in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 23, 2013. The deal came into force in January and expires on July 20, but can be extended depending on the agreement of all parties involved.

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