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VIENNA (AP) — Two days of nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers appear to have made little progress in narrowing differences standing in the way of reaching an agreement by July 20, two diplomats said Thursday.
The key dispute centers on uranium enrichment, which can produce both reactor fuel and the fissile core of a warhead. The U.S. and its allies want deep cuts in Iran's enrichment program. Tehran, which says it doesn't want nuclear arms, is resisting.
Two diplomats told The Associated Press that Tehran wants to keep the almost 20,000 enriching centrifuges it now operates or has on standby. And it wants to ultimately expand the number to 150,000 — or replace them with advanced models that have that same output.
The U.S. demands that Iran run no more than a few hundred centrifuges, dismantle all on standby and agree to tight limits on how much enriched uranium it can stockpile.
A round of talks in May ended in deadlock and as the present round went into its third day Thursday, the diplomats who closely follow the talks said disagreements on enrichment and other issues remain. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to discuss the confidential negotiations.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed problems ahead of the Thursday session, telling Iranian State TV: "Some stances of the other side are completely unacceptable."
The six powers are the United States, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.
Margaret Childs in Vienna and Amir Vahdat in Tehran contributed.
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