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Iran: A Deal Can be Reached This Week

Iran’s Foreign Minister says that a deal to end the standoff the country's nuclear program could be reached in Geneva this week.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/6/2013, 3:13 AM

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Reuters

A deal to end the standoff between Iran and the international community over its nuclear program could be reached at talks in Geneva later this week, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tuesday.

In an interview with France 24 as he was in Paris for talks with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius, Zarif said, “I believe it is possible to reach an agreement during this meeting, but I can only talk for our side, I cannot talk for the other side.”

Zarif added, however, that a failure to strike a deal in Geneva would not be “a disaster”.

“I believe we've come very far in the last three rounds [of talks], so we [only] need to make a few more steps,” he told France 24.

“We are prepared to make them in Geneva. But if we can't take them in Geneva, we'll take them in the next round.”

The latest round of discussions between Iran and the so-called P5 +1 group - the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany - are due to take place on November 7 and 8.

In the last round, held in October, Iran presented what it described as a breakthrough proposal that would include snap inspections of its atomic sites.

A report on Monday indicated that the West may offer Iran a cash windfall from its frozen oil revenues in an attempt to encourage it to make progress in the nuclear talks.

Zarif told France 24 that there remained “a great deal of mistrust in Iran concerning the attitude, the behavior and the approach of some members of P5+1” but added that Iran would enter the discussions “in good faith”.

Relations between Iran and Western nations have thawed in recent months, after Hassan Rouhani was elected president in June.

Rouhani has called for a quick agreement to end concerns that the clerical regime's uranium work is aimed at building a nuclear bomb.

On Tuesday the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, said the watchdog was considering an invitation from Tehran to visit the country for talks over setting up a possible inspection regime.

The IAEA wants access to sites, officials and documents in Iran including the Parchin military base, where it believes nuclear-related explosives tests might have taken place, possibly a decade ago.