Gap in Negotiating Positions Bridgeable

 Gap in Negotiating Positions Bridgeable
 Gap in Negotiating Positions Bridgeable

Iran is far apart from the six major powers negotiating with it over its nuclear program, but that gap could be narrowed in talks next week, Reuters quoted the European Union’s foreign policy chief as saying on Monday.

Iran and the P5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) failed to meet a July 20 target date for an agreement and are due to hold their first negotiating round since then in New York on September 18. The deadline for a deal has been extended to November 24.

“My hope is that we will make progress. ... We believe although we are far apart, there is the possibility of being able to narrow the gap,” Catherine Ashton told reporters in Ottawa when asked about her expectations for the New York round.

“But we are determined in so doing to do it fully aware that the world is watching and expecting that any agreement must be a good and positive one if it can be found.”

Ashton was in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, for a meeting with Foreign Minister John Baird.

The six powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain - want Iran to accept constraints on its nuclear program for a specified period of time in exchange for phasing out sanctions.

Some Western countries claim Tehran may have been seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is only meant for peaceful applications.