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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia, Europe Split Over Iran

UNITED NATIONS -- The United States and key European countries failed to make any progress with Russia on the scope of UN sanctions that Iran should face for refusing to rein in its nuclear program and suspend uranium enrichment.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said Wednesday that there were still "wide gaps" between the Russians and Europeans, a view echoed by Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

The five veto-wielding United Nations Security Council members -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- and Germany have now held six rounds of closed-door talks here with both camps refusing to budge.

Bolton, asked whether there had been any progress since the talks began, said: "Well, we didn't make any progress today -- let's leave it at that."

Churkin said senior foreign ministry officials from the six countries failed to bridge the differences during a telephone discussion Tuesday and at Wednesday's meeting of UN ambassadors there was "a rather intense exchange of opinion." He said there was "movement," but he couldn't tell whether it represented progress.

The Europeans circulated a draft resolution late last month. Russia proposed major changes that would limit sanctions solely to measures that would keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and eliminate any travel ban, asset freeze, or mention of Bushehr.