Talks in Kazakhstan to end the deadlock over Iran’s nuclear programme have broken down. EU Chief Catherine Ashton chaired negotiations between the West and Iran but the decade-old dispute still continues.
Critics maintain that Iran is using its nuclear facility to enrich uranium for weapons-grade material.
At the press conference in Almaty, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton told reporters: “It became clear the positions of the E3 + 3 and Iran remain far apart on the substance. We’ve therefore agreed that all sides will go back to their capitals to evaluate where we stand in the process”.
Iran denies a hidden agenda of nuclear weapons and is seeking to have major economic sanctions lifted, especially on oil exports and banks, and to retain their right to enrich uranium.
But Iran’s chief negotiator Saeed Jalili also criticised the West for their stance: “If parties want to gain the trust and confidence of the Iranian people, they have to move away from hostile treatment and shift attitudes towards Iranians. This was a principal issue in our discussions and we’ve always relayed this to them”.
Diplomats have said that one area Iran is willing to give more ground on is shipping out some of their higher-grade 20 percent uranium. But even converting some of this into reactor fuel still wouldn’t be enough to allay international concerns.