Kerry aims to ‘accelerate’ Iran nuke talks

U.S. secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday he hoped to speed up progress in the Iran nuclear talks during his Geneva meeting with his Iranian counterpart next week, Agence France-Presse reported.

Kerry told reporters he will hold talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva, hoping to “accelerate the process to make greater progress.”

“The meeting is calculated to take stock, number one, and to provide direction to our teams, number two, and to hopefully be able to accelerate the process to make greater progress,” Kerry was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

A third deadline is looming to reach a deal on reining in Iran’s suspect nuclear program by July 1.

Global powers leading the talks, known as the P5+1, are to meet again at a lower level from January 18 hoping to nail down the final thorniest issues to seal a deal.

Following an interim accord in November 2013, two deadlines for a final deal have been missed.

Under the interim deal, Iran’s stock of fissile material has been diluted from 20 percent enriched uranium to five percent in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

This would push back the “breakout capacity” to make an atomic weapon, which Iran denies pursuing.

Iran’s atomic agency chief Ali Akbar Salehi insisted Sunday on Tehran’s demands for increased uranium enrichment saying that within eight years the country would need 12 times more enriched uranium than at present.

Iran’s level of uranium enrichment — the process that produces atomic fuel — has been a key stumbling block in reaching a deal with the P5+1 powers (Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany).

“We currently produce 2.5 tons but will need 30 tons eventually,” Salehi was quoted as saying by official news agency IRNA.

By Al Arabiya

 

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