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Lack of deal with Iran on nuclear talks alarms Russia

Published on Jan 12, 2013 6:29 AM

MOSCOW/VIENNA (REUTERS) - Russia voiced alarm on Friday at delays in agreeing new nuclear talks between world powers and Iran and the United Nations (UN) atomic watchdog chief said he was not optimistic ahead of his inspectors' separate visit to Teheran next week.

The comments underlined the difficult challenges facing world powers in their search for a diplomatic solution to the decade-old standoff over Iran's nuclear programme to avert the threat of a new Middle East war.

Iran, which denies Western accusations it is seeking to develop a capability to make nuclear weapons but is facing intensifying sanctions pressure, said last week it had agreed to resume negotiations in January with the six major powers.

But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday there was no final agreement on when or where a meeting would take place.

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