VIENNA, June 17 (Reuters) - Six world powers and Iran began their fifth round of nuclear negotiations on Tuesday in hopes of salvaging prospects for a deal over Tehran’s disputed atomic activity by a July deadline.
With time running short if a risky extension of the nuclear talks is to be avoided, negotiators face huge challenges in bridging gaps in positions over the future scope of Iran’s nuclear programme in less than five weeks.
Without a deal, the Middle East would face the risk of another war if Israel - which views a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat - attacks the Islamic Republic’s nuclear installations.
Tehran denies having any military intentions with its nuclear energy campaign, saying it is geared towards electricity generation and producing radio-isotopes for medical treatments.
The talks between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in the Austrian capital Vienna are expected to last until Friday and resume some time next month ahead of the July 20 deadline.
Reporting by Justyna Pawlak; Editing by Mark Heinrich