* World powers and Iran work on nitty-gritty of nuclear
* Talks in Vienna go into second day
* Final settlement in atom dispute elusive for now
By Fredrik Dahl and Justyna Pawlak
VIENNA, Feb 19 Six world powers and Iran started
a second day of talks in Vienna on Wednesday on Tehran's
contested nuclear programme, seeking to close a vast gap in
expectations about what a final agreement should look like.
The meeting, which began on Tuesday, aims to set out a broad
agenda for talks that could in time produce an agreement on the
permissible scope of Iran's nuclear activities and lay to rest
Western concerns about their possible military dimension.
The negotiations, likely to extend over several months,
could help defuse years of hostility between energy-exporting
Iran and the West, ease the danger of a new war in the Middle
East, transform the regional power balance and open up major
business opportunities for Western firms.
Western diplomats said Tuesday's talks were "productive" and
"substantive" but had led to no immediate agreements.
"The focus on was the parameters and the process of
negotiations, the timetable of what is going to be a medium- to
long-term process," one European diplomat said. "We don't expect
On Wednesday a morning session was chaired by a senior EU
diplomat, Helga Schmid, and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister
Abbas Araqchi, accompanied by senior diplomats from the six
powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and
Germany. It was unclear whether talks would continue into
Araqchi was cited by Iran's English-language Press TV state
television on Tuesday saying that dismantling of the country's
nuclear facilities would not be part of the negotiating agenda,
highlighting a key sticking point in the talks.
The six powers - the United States, Russia, China, France,
Britain and Germany - have yet to spell out their precise
demands. But Western officials have made clear they want Iran to
cap its enrichment of uranium to low fissile purity, limit
research and development of new installations and decommission a
substantial portion of its centrifuges used to enrich uranium.
Such steps, they believe, would help extend the time that
Iran would need to produce enough fissile material for a bomb.
LENGTHY PROCESS AHEAD
During a decade of on-and-off dialogue with world powers,
Iran has rejected their allegations that it is seeking a nuclear
weapons capability. It says it is enriching uranium only for
electricity generation and medical purposes.
As part of a final deal, Iran expects the United States, the
European Union and the United Nations to lift painful economic
sanctions, but western governments will be wary of giving up
their leverage too soon.
Ahead of the talks, a senior U.S. official said getting to a
deal would be a "complicated, difficult and lengthy process".
"When the stakes are this high, and the devil is truly in
the details, one has to take the time required to ensure the
confidence of the international community in the result," the
official said. "That can't be done in a day, a week, or even a
month in this situation."
On the eve of the talks both sides played down expectations,
with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying he was
The six powers hope to get a deal done by late July, when an
interim accord struck in November expires.
That agreement, made possible by the election of relative
moderate President Hassan Rouhani on a platform of ending Iran's
international isolation, obliged Tehran to suspend its most
sensitive atom work in return for some relief from economic
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, also quoted
by Press TV on Tuesday, sounded an optimistic note:
"It is really possible to make an agreement because of a
simple overriding fact and that is that we have no other
(Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi and Louis Charbonneau in
Vienna; Editing by Jon Boyle)