Accessibility links

Breaking News

EU Sees Wide Differences In Iran Nuclear Talks, But Praises Commitment

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (left) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif talk to journalists in Vienna on March 19.
An EU official says there are some broad differences between Iran and the six world powers in reaching an agreement on Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

Helga Schmid, a deputy to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, wrote in an e-mail to senior EU officials that despite the differences, Iranian negotiators appear to be very committed to reaching an agreement with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, the United States, and China.

The e-mail, seen by the Reuters news agency, was written after a March 18-19 meeting in Vienna between officials from Iran and the six countries.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the talks in Vienna were "very successful" for clarifying some issues.

He said he cannot immediately say how far the two sides differed on their positions, but that the meetings were "extremely beneficial and constructive."

Obama's Norouz Message

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama has told Iranians there is a chance to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran if Tehran takes verifiable steps to assure the West its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

In his annual videotaped message to mark Norouz, the Persian new year, Obama said, "I'm under no illusions. This will be difficult. But I'm committed to diplomacy because I believe there is the basis for a practical solution."

Obama added that a nuclear deal with Iran can open up "new possibilities and prosperity" for the Iranian people.

The president said Iran would retain access to "peaceful nuclear energy" under a final agreement.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP