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Europe cautious on Russia sanctions ahead of summit

By Luke Baker BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European leaders are under pressure to match the United States in imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. But splits in the European Union, with many countries either close to Russia or reliant on its energy, means EU-U.S. unity is unlikely. The EU has given Russian President Vladimir Putin until Thursday to reverse course over Crimea or face sanctions, which could include visa and travel bans, the freezing of Russian assets abroad and other political and economic steps.

Exclusive: Testing detente, U.S. firms move to sell jet parts to Iran

By Tim Hepher and Andrea Shalal (Reuters) - U.S. aerospace companies are seeking permission to sell airliner parts to Iran for the first time in three decades, in a key test of the temporary relief on sanctions given under talks to curtail Iran's nuclear activities.

Austrian president weighs visit to Iran

By Michael Shields VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian President Hans Fischer has been invited to Iran, a country keen to revive ties with the EU member that for centuries was Tehran's bridgehead to Europe. If he accepts, he would become the first Western head of state to visit since the election last year of relative moderate President Hassan Rouhani on a platform of relieving Iran's isolation by engaging constructively with its adversaries.

Iran's Zarif upbeat as nuclear talks enter second day

Ambitious nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers entered a second day in Vienna on Wednesday with Tehran's foreign minister saying a deal was "totally achievable". Michael Mann, spokesman for the powers' lead negotiator and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said on Twitter that day one's talks were "substantive" and "useful". The parties aim to translate into a lasting accord a landmark interim deal struck in November under which Iran agreed to freeze certain activities for six months.

Iran, world powers seek 'comprehensive' nuclear deal

Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers move to the next level Tuesday as negotiators begin work on an ambitious lasting accord to silence for good fears about Tehran's atomic ambitions. Success might help put Iran and Washington on the road to normalising relations 35 years after the Islamic revolution and bear fruit in other areas, not least in Syria. Failure could lead to conflict.

Skeptical of Iran, US senator revives sanctions push

An influential US senator sought Thursday to revive a push for sanctions to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, arguing that calling for new penalties is not war-mongering as suggested by the White House. Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat, went on the offensive in a marathon floor speech outlining his distrust of the Iranian regime, saying he was "deeply skeptical" of Tehran's intention to adhere to an interim agreement with world powers over its nuclear program.

US sets sanctions on Iran, terror global network

The United States blacklisted Thursday individuals and companies worldwide for violating its sanctions regime on Iran, even as it has slightly eased those sanctions as nuclear talks progress. The Treasury Department said the sanctions also were aimed at supporters of terrorism. The sanctions targets are operating in Turkey, Spain, Germany, Georgia, Afghanistan, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and Liechtenstein, the Treasury said.

Business trip to Iran 'not helpful', Kerry tells France

By Mehrdad Balali DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his French counterpart a trip to Iran by French executives was "not helpful" and that it gave the wrong impression that the West could do business with Tehran as usual, a U.S. official said. Under an interim deal reached by Iran and six world powers in November, Tehran agreed to limit parts of its nuclear work in return for the easing of some international sanctions.

US officials: Interim nuclear deal does not mean that Iran is open for business

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials said Tuesday that an interim deal with Iran that curbs its nuclear program in exchange for some relief from economic sanctions that have crippled its economy does not mean that Tehran is open for business. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financing, acknowledged that European businesses are rushing to Iran to prepare for the possibility that all sanctions will be lifted if a comprehensive agreement is reached preventing Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapon.

Iran nuclear deal 'not perfect' but buys time: U.S. official

By Patricia Zengerle and Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An initial agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program was "not perfect" but bought time to try to secure a comprehensive deal, U.S. officials said on Tuesday in response to sharp criticism from Congress. Major world powers struck an interim deal with Iran on November 24 giving Tehran an estimated $7 billion in sanctions relief in return for steps to restrain Iranian nuclear activities. The deal called for negotiation of a full agreement within a year.
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