Senior Western diplomat: Nuclear deal with Iran not close

By REUTERS
October 18, 2013 01:06

 
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BRUSSELS - A senior western diplomat cautioned on Thursday that any breakthrough in diplomacy over Iran's nuclear program was not "close", seeking to dampen expectations the next round of talks on Nov. 7-8 could lead to a deal.

Western negotiators have described two days of nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva on Tuesday and Wednesday as the most detailed and serious to date after Tehran hinted it was ready to scale back sensitive atomic work to secure sanctions relief.

Despite the improved atmosphere, diplomats said major differences remained between western governments, which suspect Iran's nuclear work has covert military goals, and Tehran, which denies that and demands the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

In Brussels, a senior diplomat said the talks in Geneva - the first such meeting since relative moderate President Hassan Rouhani took office in Iran in August - had left negotiators "more reassured than we were before".

"We learned more about their program and their concerns," the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "However, it doesn't mean we are close to a solution and that we will have an agreement next month."

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