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Report: US, Iran reach accord on nuclear proliferation

By George Chidi
Saturday, November 23, 2013 21:20 EDT
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John Kerry meets Laurent Fabius AFP
 
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Negotiators for Iran the world powers reached an agreement on Iran and its nuclear program in Geneva early Sunday morning, CNN International and other news agencies are reporting.

“We have reached agreement between E3+3 and Iran,” tweeted Michael Mann, a spokesperson for Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.

The agreement requires Iran to halt or scale back parts of its nuclear infrastructure, reports the Washington Post. This would be the first scaling back of Iran’s nuclear ambitions in a decade, the Post said.

Iran’s diplomats have insisted that any deal contain international recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium, a matter of deep national pride, the Post reported. The deal reportedly allows limited uranium enrichment under tight restrictions and heavy international monitoring, but does not contain this recognition of a legal “right.” Instead it contains language that “acknowledges the right of all countries to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” the Post reported.

Talks had been set to continue late into the night. Differences still divided the diplomats, particularly around Iran’s right to enrich uranium. Iran had said it could not accept any agreement with the six major powers that did not recognize what it describes as its right to enrich uranium, a demand the United States and its European allies have repeatedly rejected.

The arrival of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who had decided to join the talks in their fourth day “in light of the progress being made” and with “the hope that an agreement will be reached”, boosted negotiations, according to Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.

Kerry’s departure had been imminent early Sunday morning in Geneva, leaving expectations of another round of negotiations.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke of “very difficult” negotiations, saying “narrow gaps” remained on the same issues that blocked agreement at the last round of talks earlier this month.

“We’re not here because things are necessarily finished,” Hague told reporters. “We’re here because they’re difficult, and they remain difficult.”

(With reporting from Agence France-Presse)

 
 
 
 
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