Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili grimaces while listening to a question during his news conference after the high-level talks between world powers and Iranian officials in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Saturday, April 6, 2013. Iran and six world powers failed to reach agreement Saturday on a common approach to reducing fears that Tehran might misuse its nuclear technology to make weapons, with the EU’s foreign policy chief declaring that the to sides ‘’remain far apart on substance.’’ (AP Photo/Pavel Mikheyev)
ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AP) — Iran and six world powers failed to reach agreement Saturday on how to reduce fears that Tehran might use its nuclear technology to make weapons, extending years of inconclusive talks and adding to concerns the diplomatic window on reaching a deal with Tehran may soon close.
Expectations the negotiations were making progress rose as an afternoon session continued into the evening. But comments by the two sides after they ended made clear that they fell far short of making enough headway to qualify the meeting as a success.
“What matters in the end is substance, and … we are still a considerable distance apart,” Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s head of foreign policy, told reporters at the end of the two-day talks.
Ashton, the convener of the meeting, said negotiators would now consult with their capitals. She made no mention of plans for new talks — another sign that the gap dividing the two sides remains substantial. She said she would talk with chief Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili by telephone over further steps.
Jalili spoke of “some distance between the positions of the two sides.” He suggested Iran was ready to discuss meeting a key demand of the other side — cutting back its highest-grade uranium enrichment production and stockpile — but only if the six reciprocated with rewards far greater than they are now willing to give.
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