MORE TIME NEEDED ON IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: DIPLOMAT
Talks between global powers and Iran that broke up this weekend without a deal on Tehran's disputed nuclear drive were "definitely no failure", a senior Western diplomat familiar with the issue said Monday.

There was "no breakthrough yet but definitely no failure," said the diplomat on condition of anonymity, speaking after the negotiations between Iran and P5+1 powers - Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany.

"The collective assessment of the group was that some more time would still be needed; that was not just the assessment of the French," the source added, referring to reports in some quarters blaming France for holding up a deal.

The talks were "very intensive, very complex, very detailed and constructive," the diplomat added, saying that an agreement to return to the negotiating table as early as next week "shows how serious we are."

It was "crucial to keep momentum," the source said.

In the latest marathon round of the years-long talks, hopes of finally reaching a deal soared after foreign ministers from the P5+1 powers rushed to the Swiss city to join the meeting at the weekend.

When it ended inconclusively some laid the blame on France, whose Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius raised concerns over a heavy water reactor being built at Arak, an issue which was introduced into the negotiations recently by global powers.

At least a year from being completed, the Arak reactor is a source of concern for Western powers who fear the plutonium it will produce as a by-product could provide Iran with a second route for making fissile material for an atom bomb.

Iran says it solely wants to produce isotopes for medical and agricultural purposes.

The other source of concern is Tehran's enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, a few technical steps away from making weapons-grade matter.

Global powers want to see a freeze in Iran's nuclear programme in return for lifting some of the sanctions they say are biting hard into the country's economy.
Speaking Monday in Abu Dhabi, US Secretary of State John Kerry accused Iran of walking away from a deal at the Geneva talks.

"The P5+1 was unified on Saturday when we presented our proposal to the Iranians... But Iran couldn't take it, at that particular moment they weren't able to accept," said Kerry.

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445 reads | 13.11.2013
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