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Rouhani Optimistic About Nuclear Talks

Talks between Iran and world powers could generate positive results "within two months", predicts Iran's president.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/31/2013, 4:43 AM

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani
Reuters

Iran’s president expressed optimism on Monday, as experts from Iran and six world powers (known as the P5+1) gathered in Geneva for a third round of nuclear talks.

The talks are aimed at setting a framework to implement last month's landmark interim deal.

According to the Iranian Fars news agency, President Hassan Rouhani said the negotiations will yield early positive results in the next two months.

“Mr. Rouhani referred to the Geneva negotiations and said the negotiations will yield positive results in the next one to two months and then we can have development in the country’s economy,” Fars quoted Rouhani as having said during a meeting with lawmakers.

Under the deal struck on November 24, Iran agreed to roll back or freeze parts of its nuclear drive for six months in exchange for modest sanctions relief and a promise by Western powers not to impose new sanctions.

The technical talks, which resumed several weeks ago in Geneva, were interrupted when the Iranians walked out over a decision by the United States to blacklist 19 more Iranian companies and individuals, which the Iranians claimed was in violation of the Geneva deal.

Iran only agreed to resume the talks after it was given an "assurance" by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the six powers, that the talks would continue in good faith.

Washington had explained that the new measures did not constitute new sanctions, but were rather part of the previous sanctions regime.

Meanwhile, Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said last week that his country is building a new generation of centrifuges for uranium enrichment but they “require further tests” before they can be mass produced.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D) said at week's end that the “Iranians are showing their true intentions,” following Salehi’s statement.

“If you’re talking about producing more advanced centrifuges that are only used to enrich uranium at a quicker rate … the only purposes of that and the only reason you won’t give us access to [a military research facility] is because you’re really not thinking about nuclear power for domestic energy — you’re thinking about nuclear power for nuclear weapons,” said Menendez.