Officials on both sides reported that the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the six powers last week in Kazakhstan not only failed to narrow the gaps between the two sides but exposed their depth and scale. The powers counted on Iran agreeing to suspend 20-percent uranium enrichment and disable the Fordo enrichment site for some months in return for the partial easing of sanctions as a first step towards a broader deal. Instead, a senior US official reported that the Iranian delegation led by Saeed Jalili responded with “very, very tiny steps, but wanted a lot of return.”

Even a direct 30-minute conversation  between Jalili and the senior US negotiator Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman failed to narrow the gulf. The meeting broke up Saturday, April 6, without setting a date for another round.

All the same,  a senior US official who refused to be identified said, “"There was no breakthrough but also no breakdown.Our intention is to proceed."