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Zarif specifies sticking points in Iran nuclear talks


Source: Tehran Times

The Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that Tehran's enrichment capacity, the Arak heavy-water reactor, and the sanctions against the country are the main sticking points in the talks between Iran and the major powers.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appeared in Parliament to report on nuclear negotiations

Zarif, who is the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator, also said that Iran's position on the issue of the number of centrifuge machines that Tehran would be allowed to maintain under a final nuclear deal is clear, adding, "The other side's insistence in this regard is ineffective."

Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) failed to meet a self-imposed July 20 deadline to clinch a comprehensive deal to resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program and agreed to extend the talks for four months until November 24.

The United States and some Western powers have said Iran must significantly scale down its uranium enrichment program so that a final deal can be struck, but Tehran says it is ready to maintain its enrichment capacity at current levels for a specified period of time before expanding it.

Iran currently has more than 9,000 centrifuge machines in operation.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif said that Iran's negotiating partners are aware of the fact that the only solution to the nuclear issue is to reach an agreement.

"They have seen that exerting pressure on the Iranian people is futile," he added.

Enrichment capacity of 190,000 SWUs is Iran's target: Araqchi

A senior Iranian nuclear negotiator has said that the Supreme Leader has outlined the vision for the country's nuclear program, the Nasminonline said in a report on Tuesday.

Abbas Araqchi said the statement by the Leader that Iran definitely needs a uranium enrichment capacity of 190,000 SWUs (separative work units) in order to fuel its nuclear reactors is a target for Tehran's nuclear program.

However, Araqchi said this "does not mean that Iran wants to develop a uranium enrichment capacity of 190,000 SWUs this year or the next year... or even in five years."

The timeline for Iran to reach the target is a subject for discussion in nuclear talks with the major powers, said Araqchi, the deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Araqchi said that Iran and the major powers will resume their talks on a final comprehensive deal on Tehran's nuclear program in late August or early September.

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