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Friday, November 15, 2013
Diplomat: 'Quite possible' Iran deal reached next week
reporters, senior US official says major power, Iran close to
first-stage deal on nuclear progam. 'Still tough issues to negotiate,'
he says, adds diplomats will meet on Nov 21-22
Major powers and Iran
are getting close to a first-stage agreement to curb Iran's nuclear
program and it is "quite possible" a deal could be reached when they
meet Nov. 21-22 in Geneva, a senior US official told reporters.
"I don't know if we will reach an agreement. I think it is quite
possible that we can, but there are still tough issues to negotiate,"
said the official.
According to him, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif were to meet on Nov. 20 in Geneva
and a wider group - including Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia
and the United States - would meet Iranian officials there on the
following two days.
Zarif faces off with Ashton in last week's talks (Photo: Reuters)
Earlier on Friday, Zarif said he is hopeful ahead of next week's
negotiations with world powers and reiterated Tehran's demand for
recognition of what it calls its "nuclear rights."
There is no chance for the upcoming round of talks to succeed if the
West ignores Iran's demand for formal recognition of its right to enrich
uranium, Zarif said in comments carried by the semi-official Fars news
Zarif's statements were made against the background of a new report
by the International Atomic Energy Agency according to which Iran has
frozen its uranium enriching activities.
The IAEA said that, in the past three months, only four new
centrifuges had been installed at Iran's Natanz plant, compared with
1,861 in the previous period.
Meanwhile US President Barack Obama sought to reassure skeptical
US lawmakers on Thursday that any easing of sanctions on Iran that
emerges from negotiations could easily be reversed and "ramped back up"
if Tehran fails to curb its nuclear program.
"If we're serious about pursuing diplomacy, then there's no need for
us to add new sanctions on top of the sanctions that are already very
effective, and that brought them (the Iranians) to the table in the
first place," Obama told a White House news conference.
"Now, if it turns out they can't deliver, they can't come to the
table in a serious way and get this issue resolved, the sanctions can be
ramped back up," he said.