March 9 - European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says it would be ''difficult and challenging'' to reach a long-term nuclear deal with Iran. Gavino Garay reports.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Sunday there is no guarantee of a successful long-term nuclear agreement with Iran. She was in Tehran for a two-day visit, the first by an EU foreign policy chief since 2008. Iran and six world powers, represented by Ashton, are seeking a long-lasting agreement over Tehran's disputed nuclear program. A deal would help put an end to years of hostility between Iran and the West. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN UNION FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF CATHERINE ASHTON, SAYING: "Difficult, challenging, there is no guarantee we'll succeed but I think it's very important, with the support of the people of Iran, for the work that is going on by the minister and his team and with the support of the international community for my work, that we should aim to try and succeed." Under an interim deal struck in Geneva in November, Tehran curbed some of its nuclear activities for six months in return for limited sanctions relief. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Mohammad Zarif. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD MOHAMMAD ZARIF, SAYING: "Well I think Iran is determined to reach an agreement, we have shown good faith, we have shown political will and as far as verification of our side of the bargain is concerned, we have done our side. It's up to the other side first to fulfill its commitments under the Geneva agreement..." The six powers do not want the talks to run beyond a six-month deadline agreed to in the November deal. Diplomatic efforts are intensifying ahead of talks between Tehran and world powers on March 18.