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Afghanistan's feuding presidential rivals agreed Saturday to a full audit of every vote cast in the disputed runoff election, US Secretary of State John Kerry said following two days of frantic negotiations. The deadlock over last month's run-off vote to succeed outgoing President Hamid Karzai plunged Afghanistan into crisis and dented US hopes of a smooth transfer of power as Washington seeks to withdraw all its troops by late 2016. Preliminary results of the second-round vote put Ashraf Ghani in the lead, but Abdullah Abdullah -- who has already once lost a presidential bid -- declared himself the true winner, saying massive fraud robbed him of victory. The stand-off sparked concern that protests could spiral into ethnic violence and even lead to a return of the fighting between warlords that ravaged Afghanistan during the 1992-1996 civil war.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says both of Afghanistan's presidential candidates are committed to abiding by the results of the "largest, most comprehensive audit" of the election runoff ballots possible.
Iran has stuck to "inadequate and unworkable" positions in nuclear talks with six world powers despite a looming deadline for a deal to end sanctions against Tehran in exchange for curbs on its atomic program, a U.S. official said on Saturday. "We are very far apart on some issues", including on uranium enrichment, the senior U.S. administration official told reporters on condition of anonymity. Another senior U.S. official added that it was difficult to consider extending the negotiations with Iran beyond the July 20 deadline without first seeing "significant progress on key issues" negotiations between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.