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Ukraine crisis not seen hurting Iran nuclear talks: EU

Published on Mar 19, 2014 8:24 AM
Catherine Ashton (4th right), High Representative of the Union of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (2nd right) attend the first day of the second round of P5+1 talks with Iran at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna, Austria on March 18, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

VIENNA (REUTERS) - Iran and six world powers sought to make headway toward resolving their decade-old nuclear dispute, with Western officials expressing hope the talks would not be further complicated by the Ukraine crisis.

So far, diplomats said, there is little sign that the worst East-West confrontation since the Cold War would undermine the quest for a deal over Iran's atomic activity and avert the threat of a Middle East war.

The March 18-19 meeting between Iran and the powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - began a day after Washington and the European Union imposed sanctions on a number of Russian officials over Moscow's takeover of Ukraine's Crimea region.

"I haven't seen any negative effect," Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton who coordinates the talks on behalf of the six nations, told reporters.

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