‘Big’ differences remain in Iran nuclear talks

Differences in the positions of the Iranian regime and world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program remain big and they face a “difficult road” to reach a deal by a late November deadline, a senior Iranian negotiator said on Thursday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters after a day of talks in Vienna with the three European members of the group of six major powers the difference remain ‘big’. “We have a difficult road to go,” he said.

The six powers, also including Russia and China, will hold their first full negotiating round with Iran since July on September 18 in New York.

Diplomats in Vienna say the main stumbling block is disagreement on how many centrifuges the Iranian regime should be allowed to keep to refine uranium.

The world powers want the Iranian regime to significantly reduce the number of centrifuges much below the more than 19,000 it has now installed, of which roughly half are operating.

Last November in Geneva, the Iranian regime and the six powers reached an interim agreement under which Tehran won some easing of sanctions in return for halting its most sensitive nuclear work.

But they failed to meet a July 20 target for a comprehensive agreement under which the regime would further curb its atomic activities in exchange for a gradual lifting of sanctions, and they set a new deadline of November 24.

A Vienna-based diplomat ruled out a new extension of the negotiations if there is no agreement by then, saying it was a “hard deadline”, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, a senior member of the regime’s parliament said on Thursday: “Washington’s actions are the main stumbling block to the progress of nuclear talks between Iran and the G5+1 group as the US seeks to hinder a final accord on Tehran’s nuclear activities.”

Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini said on Thursday: “The Americans attempt to bring up issues other than Iran’s nuclear issue in the negotiations, a move which contravenes the previous agreements and poses problems to the talks.”

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