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EU: Next Iran Nuclear Talks to be Held March 17

Source: VOA; photos by Marzieh Mousavi, Islamic Republic News Agency

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced the next round of talks on Iran's nuclear program will be held March 17. Ashton said Thursday that Iran and six world powers just finished "three very productive days" of talks in Vienna that identified the issues to be addressed in a comprehensive agreement.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif share a laugh during a press statement after a conference in Vienna, Feb. 20, 2014.

Iranian state media reported Thursday that the two sides agreed on a framework for talks on a comprehensive nuclear deal.

Senior Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi did not lay out the specifics of the negotiating agreement in his comments to the IRNA news agency.

The announcement follows two days of talks in Vienna, which Araghchi said were held "in a positive atmosphere."

He added another round of talks would be held in late March in Vienna, but said he could "not be optimistic yet" about their future.

United States and European Union diplomats have described the talks as constructive, substantive and useful.

The two sides are trying to build on a six-month deal they reached in November that calls for Iran to cut back its most sensitive nuclear activity in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Tuesday his country would not scrap any of its nuclear facilities as part of a comprehensive agreement.

The group that includes the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany wants Iran to provide assurances it will not develop nuclear weapons. In return, Iran wants all the sanctions that have hurt its economy to be lifted.

Iran has long insisted that its nuclear program is peaceful.

... Payvand News - 02/20/14 ... --

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