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Europe

Iran, EU Nuke Talks Still Without Agreement

Negotiations between EU and Iranian diplomats on the issue of Iran's nuclear program appeared to have reached a stalemate on Saturday.

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The EU wants activity at Iran's uranim conversion facilities to stop

"The two sides are sticking to their positions on the fundamental questions," Hassan Rowhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and top nuclear negotiator, told state television.

Saturday's negotiations followed on around seven hours of "complicated and difficult" talks in Paris on Friday. Iranian and EU diplomats have been unable to come to a verbal agreement on the length of a possible suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment program, an unnamed diplomat told AFP.

Iran is offering a six-month suspension of its enrichment program, which the United States has said it believes will be used to produce atomic weapons. But officials from Germany, France and Britain are pushing Iran to agree to an indefinite suspension, diplomats said.

Iran maintains that it has a right to produce nuclear power, and that it has no intention of producing atomic weapons. It says it will never accept a permanent end to its enrichment activities.

At two previous summits in Vienna on the issue, the two sides failed to reach agreement.

Support from China

Diplomats have said that there is a deadline of mid-November for the new round of talks to conclude. Should there be no agreement, the EU has said it will back calls by the US to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council.

On Saturday, China spoke out in support of Iran, and said there was no reason to take the matter before the Security Council. On a visit to Tehran, China's foreign minister Li Zhaoxing said such a step would only complicate the dispute and make finding a solution more difficult.

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