ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Talks seeking to find common ground between Iran and a group of six nations over concerns that Tehran's nuclear program might be used to make weapons appeared to run into trouble shortly after they began Friday.
A Western diplomat privy to the talks said Iran's response to the offer from the group fell short of what the six wanted and instead amounted to a reworking of proposals it made last year at negotiations that broke up in disagreement. He said the two sides remained a long way apart on substance as the talks adjourned.
The diplomat spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity in exchange for discussing the confidential talks taking place Friday and today in the Kazakh commercial capital, Almaty.
Iran is demanding international recognition of its right to advanced nuclear technology, but other countries are concerned that it wants to use that expertise to make atomic arms.
Russia's Interfax news agency cited Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, the head of his country's Almaty delegation, as saying the six won't be able to determine whether they can bridge differences with Iran until the two sides meet again today.
The six nations insist Iran cut back on its highest grade uranium enrichment production and stockpile. They say Iran must make that move to build confidence that its nuclear program is peaceful. Iranian negotiator Ali Bagheri challenged the six countries on that point, telling reporters "what is being referred to as confidence-building measures are actions that both sides … need to take" simultaneously.