Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he is "quite optimistic" that a dispute over Tehran's nuclear program can be resolved by a November 24 deadline. Zarif on Monday held what he described as "good'' talks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Brussels. He also held separate talks with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
(photo by Amin Jalali, Islamic Republic News Agency)
Iran and top world powers are working to strike a comprehensive agreement, under which Iran would curb its nuclear activities in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions that have crippled its economy.
Western countries have accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons capabilities, a charge that Tehran has repeatedly denied.
On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told reporters in Tehran that new U.S. sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities are "not compatible" with the spirit of the P5+1 negotiations. The U.S. Treasury Department announced the sanctions Friday.
Zarif said that while Iran remains committed to making progress on the talks with the six world powers, he viewed the new sanctions as "impediments" to negotiations.
The next round of talks is scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York later in September.
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