|Russia hopes to see ‘serious progress’ at Iran nuclear talks||
TEHRAN – Russia said on Wednesday it hoped to see “serious progress” at a new round of talks between Iran and world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program, which is scheduled to be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on February 26.
In an interview with the state-run RIA Novosti news agency, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the two sides had made no progress since the last round of top-level negotiations were held in Moscow at the end of June 2012, AFP reported on Wednesday.
But he said that pressure would be high on both Iran and world powers to climb down from their respective positions and seek middle ground at the February 26 meeting.
“Despite everything, I would very much hope to see the upcoming round result in -- if not an outright breakthrough -- then serious progress,” Ryabkov said.
“Because so far, we have not advanced past the stage at which we found ourselves in June” in Moscow, he added.
“We have lost a lot of time,” Russia’s top nuclear negotiator said. “We do not think you can lose time anymore.”
Talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 powers -- the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany – were held on three occasions at the highest level in the past year.
The major powers have demanded that Iran halt 20 percent enrichment of uranium, shut down the Fordo uranium enrichment facility, and ship all of its stocks of 20 percent enriched uranium out of the country.
Iran’s main demand is that its right to uranium enrichment, as enumerated in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, be recognized.
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