Catherine Ashton

Nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers ended without any breakthrough, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton announced.

At a press conference after two days of negotiations in Almaty, Kazakhstan, she said: “It became clear that the positions… remain far apart on the substance.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov confirmed the impasse, saying: “Unfortunately we were unable to achieve a breakthrough and are still on the threshold.”

Ashton told reporters: “We have, therefore, agreed that all sides will go back to [their] capitals to evaluate where we stand in the process.”

The lead negotiator for the G5+1 added: “I think the first hurdle is take the proposal that we put on the table and get a real response to all of it… The challenge is to get real engagement so that we can move forward with this."

Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief negotiator, told reporters that Iran had made its proposals but the other party was not ready to respond to it and, therefore, had asked for more time study it.

Iran has called for the recognition of its right to uranium enrichment. The G5+1 has called for the suspension of high-grade uranium enrichment at the Fordo nuclear site but agreed to let Iran keep the necessary stockpile of 20-percent-enriched uranium in the country for use as fuel for the research reactor in Tehran.