July 10, 2014 / 7:26 AM / 5 years ago

Iran nuclear talks sides far apart, paper quotes UK's Hague

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague speaks during a news conference in Baghdad June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

VIENNA (Reuters) - Significant differences remain between six world powers and Iran in negotiations over its nuclear program, an Austrian newspaper quoted British Foreign Minister William Hague as saying.

Wiener Zeitung said a spokesperson for Hague had provided his remarks via email on Wednesday and they were published on Thursday. The quotes appeared identical to a statement Hague made on July 2 about the Iran nuclear negotiations, which resumed last week and continued in Vienna on Thursday.

Hague said a deal was far from certain but that all possibilities should be exhausted in a final round of talks now taking place in Vienna, according to Wiener Zeitung.

Iran and the powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China - aim to reach a long-term deal to end the decade-old standoff by a self-imposed July 20 deadline. Some diplomats and analysts believe an extension may be needed in view of the still-wide gaps in negotiating positions.

“Achieving an agreement is far from certain,” Hague said. “Significant differences remain...which are yet to be bridged. But I am convinced that the current negotiations are the best opportunity we have had in years to resolve this issue.”

The West fears that Iran has been seeking to develop nuclear capability to make stomic bombs. Iran says its nuclear program is an entirely peaceful project to generate electricity. The powers want Iran to significantly scale back its activities.

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Fredrik Dahl/Mark Heinrich

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