Iran, world powers ‘far apart’ after new nuke talks

(JTA) — World powers will not pursue talks indefinitely with Iran over its nuclear program, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said after another round failed to produce new proposals.

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Kerry made the statement Sunday in Istanbul a day after the talks between Iran and six world powers — the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — ended in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who led the talks, said the sides “remain far apart on the substance.” No new talks were scheduled.

In response to a proposal by the world powers under which Iran would halt production of nearly weapons-grade enriched uranium in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions, Iran said it made a “comprehensive proposal” to “establish a new bedrock for cooperation” — similar to a proposal rejected by the powers in June.

The announcement by Ali Baqeri, deputy head of the Iranian delegation, came following the opening session of talks in Kazakhstan.

Baqeri said that Iran had more than met demands from American and European officials that his country offer a concrete show of willingness to address international concerns about its nuclear program.

“These steps are referred to as confidence-building measures, but they are part of a comprehensive set of measures,” Baqeri said.

At the last round of talks in February, the world powers offered a modest easing of international sanctions if Iran takes steps to limit its supply of dangerous enriched uranium. The proposal required Iran to shut its enrichment plant at Fordow.

While Iran says its nuclear program is exclusively for civilian purposes, American, Israeli, European and other Western officials suspect that Tehran is seeking the technology for nuclear weapons.

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