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Russia, US set aside Ukraine crisis for Iran nuclear talks

Russia, the United States and other world powers put their sharp differences over Ukraine to one side on Tuesday as they held their latest nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna. The gathering is the second in a series of meetings aiming to transform by July a November interim deal into a lasting accord that resolves for good the decade-old standoff and removes the threat of war.

EU says no impact from Crimea tension on nuclear talks with Iran

VIENNA (Reuters) - World powers have not seen any impact so far from tension with Russia over the Ukrainian region of Crimea on nuclear talks with Iran, a spokesman for the European Union's foreign policy chief said on Tuesday. The powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - began a new round of talks on Iran's contested nuclear work on Tuesday in Vienna, a day after Washington and the EU imposed sanctions on Russian officials.

Iran says it foiled sabotage attempt on Arak reactor

DUBAI (Reuters) - Pumps at Iran's planned Arak reactor, seen by the West as a potential source of plutonium for nuclear bombs, were tampered with in a failed attempt to sabotage the country's nuclear program, a senior official said on Monday. Asghar Zarean, deputy chief for nuclear protection and security at the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, said the incident was one of several such attacks foiled over the past few months, the official IRNA news agency reported.

U.S. hopes Ukraine crisis won't harm work with Russia on Iran

By Louis Charbonneau VIENNA (Reuters) - The United States hopes the escalating crisis in Ukraine will not undermine cooperation with Russia to curb Iran's nuclear program, a senior U.S. administration official said on Friday. Senior officials from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China are due to meet Iranian officials in Vienna next week for a new round of talks aimed at finding ways to limit Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for ending sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

EU sanctions on Russians could face challenge in court

By Justyna Pawlak BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is taking extra care in drawing up sanctions against Russia over Crimea to avoid legal loopholes that could allow targeted officials to challenge them in court, as happened with measures against Iran's nuclear program. If, as expected, EU foreign ministers approve a list on Monday of people, firms or institutions they blame for harming the territorial integrity of Ukraine, the bloc may still have to defend the measures in court, legal experts and diplomats say.

Iran faces 'tough decisions' at nuclear talks

Iran has to take some "tough decisions" as world powers seek to hammer out a nuclear deal, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday with negotiations due to resume next week. His comments came as he was grilled by US lawmakers over the talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group, which are due to start up again in Vienna on Monday. Under a six-month interim deal, Iran agreed to freeze its uranium enrichment program in return for sanctions relief worth some $6-7 billion, including the transfer of some $4.2 billion in frozen overseas funds.

U.S. has made clear Iran 'not open for business,' Kerry tells senators

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. sanctions against Iran remain undiluted and Washington has sent a clear message to other countries that Iran is not open for business, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday. Kerry told U.S. senators on Capitol Hill that Washington's tough sanctions regime against Tehran has not been weakened by an initial agreement late last year between Iran and six world powers over its nuclear ambitions.

Netanyahu, showing seized rockets, says Iran fooling the world

EILAT, Israel (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, displaying on Monday what Israel said were seized, Iranian-supplied missiles bound for militants in Gaza, urged the West not to be fooled by Tehran's diplomacy on its nuclear program. Last week the Israeli navy captured a ship in the Red Sea carrying arms that the military said included forty M-302 surface-to-surface rockets manufactured in Syria and capable of striking most of Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Russian official to hold talks on new Iran nuclear plant

An official of Russia's state atomic energy agency is to visit Iran on Tuesday for talks on building a second nuclear power plant, Iranian media reported. Russia built Iran's sole existing nuclear power plant in the Gulf port of Bushehr and handed it over to Iranian engineers last September. Iran's ambassador in Moscow said last month that Russia could build a second nuclear power plant in Bushehr as part of a swap deal for oil that has sparked strong opposition in Washington because of its implications for Western sanctions on Iran's vital oil sector.

In Iran, EU's Ashton says no guarantee on nuclear deal

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Sunday a final accord on Iran's nuclear programme cannot be guaranteed, during a landmark visit underscoring a thaw in Tehran's ties with the West. Ashton's official visit to Tehran comes after Iran signed a preliminary deal in November with world powers under which it agreed to curb its disputed nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.
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