Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Iran, 6 powers wide apart in nuclear deal talks

Iran and 6 world powers began a new round of talks on Tuesday in Vienna to try to reach a comprehensive deal on Tehran's nuclear program.

But the 2 sides remain divided over Iran's claim that it has a right to nuclear development.

Iran is represented by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is serving as a coordinator of opinions among the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

Participants began discussing items related to the final deal as well as a framework for the negotiations.

Senior officials from Iran and the US also held their own talks on Tuesday afternoon.
Western countries are expected to press Iran to further limit its nuclear activities and to stop building a heavy-water reactor.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters on Tuesday that dismantling Iran's nuclear program and facilities is not on the agenda.

Iran and Western nations want to set the course for a comprehensive deal during the 6-month implementation period for the interim deal that began last month.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran has changed neither its aggressive policy nor brutal character despite its nuclear deal with world powers.

Netanyahu on Tuesday called on the international community to get tough on Iran to stop its nuclear development program.

He said Iran has gained a lot in sanctions relief but has not given up any part of its nuclear development and that Iran is deceiving the world with its smiles.

Israel regards Iran's nuclear development as the greatest threat to its national security. Netanyahu's comments reflect Israel's sense of crisis as Western nations ease sanctions.