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In brief: Next round of Iran nuclear talks set

FRIDAY, FEB. 21, 2014

Vienna – Iran and six world powers on Thursday ended nuclear talks with agreement on a framework for future negotiations but little progress on the main issue of what nuclear concessions Tehran must make in exchange for an end to sanctions stifling its economy.

In a joint statement at the end of three-day talks, officials for both sides said they would meet again in Vienna on March 17, continuing a process likely to take at least six months and probably longer.

Separately, the U.N. nuclear agency confirmed that Tehran is abiding by its commitments under the first-step pact that led to this week’s negotiations, which are focused on a more ambitious deal.

Among other findings, the agency noted that Iran’s stockpile of nuclear material that can be turned quickly into the fissile core of a nuclear warhead had diminished by nearly 20 percent to 161 kilograms (355 pounds) under the first-step agreement, which took effect last month.

Expectations had been modest as the talks started Tuesday, and the announcement that a framework had been agreed on appeared aimed in part to encourage skeptics inside and outside Iran that the negotiations had a chance to succeed.

U.S. Army leader, Chinese generals meet

Beijing – The U.S. Army chief met with top Chinese generals in Beijing today amid regional tensions and efforts to build trust between the two nation’s militaries.

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno was greeted with full military honors at China’s Defense Ministry and had a full day of meetings scheduled in addition to an event at prestigious Peking University.

His visit comes amid bitter disputes between China and two U.S. allies – Japan and the Philippines – over territorial claims in the East and South China seas.

China also sparked U.S. concerns late last year when it unexpectedly announced an air defense zone encompassing a large swath of the East China Sea, including islands controlled by Japan but claimed by Beijing.


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