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Six-party talks with Iran adjourn, leaving no clues to progress

October 16, 2013|By Paul Richter

GENEVA -- Iran and six world powers adjourned a two-day meeting aimed at resolving their dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, hailing their “productive” discussions but giving little hint of how much progress they had made in narrowing their differences.

Amid soaring expectations that a deal was near after 10 years of stalemate, diplomats said they had discussed a “road map” to a deal, and had taken up how to start their horse-trading and the final resolution of talks.

But they did not directly address whether Iran had accepted any of the curbs on its nuclear program that world powers demand, or if the six powers had signaled they would accept Iranian nuclear enrichment at the close of a deal — a key Iranian demand.

Officials declined to provide details of the discussion, fearing that doing so could fuel opposition and undermine the diplomatic effort.

The parties announced that they would hold a second meeting in Geneva in two weeks to continue the effort. Besides the United States and Iran, the other nations participating are Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

The lack of proof of progress is likely to draw fire from Congress, which has been threatening to add more tough economic sanctions if Iran didn’t immediately commit to accepting curbs on its fast-moving program. Other nations wary of Iran’s promises, including Israel and the Persian Gulf states, may be unsatisfied by the outcome of this opening round.

In a statement, the two sides praised the “substantive and forward-looking negotiation.” They said they were using a proposal by Iran as the baseline for discussions.

The negotiators' decision to provide few details was "good for negotiations, but bad for the way it will position them against Congress," said Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council.


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