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Russia, US set aside Ukraine crisis for Iran nuclear talks

Catherine Ashton (L), High Representative for the European Union, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend the first day of the second round of P5+1 talks with Iran at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria on March 18, 2014Russia, the United States and other world powers put their sharp differences over Ukraine to one side on Tuesday as they held their latest nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna. So far, despite disagreements over the Syria conflict and other issues, the six powers have shown a united front over Iran, but events in Ukraine in recent weeks have precipitated the worst crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War. On Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty claiming Crimea as Russian territory and said the Black Sea peninsula has always been “in the hearts” of his compatriots. Despite the tensions, a spokesman for Catherine Ashton, the powers’ chief negotiator and EU foreign policy chief, said he had seen “no negative effect” on the Iran talks, with the six “still united”.

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