MOSCOW- Russia said on Thursday talks between world powers and Iran were "extremely difficult" but Moscow still hoped a long-term deal to end the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program could be reached by July 20.

Iran and the six powers - the United States, Russia, France, Germany, China and Britain - are struggling to bridge wide differences on the future of Tehran's nuclear program to meet the self-imposed deadline.

"The discussions are extremely difficult but on the face of it there is some progress," the ministry's spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told a news conference.


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