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Iran’s Zarif to join nuclear talks Saturday

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Tehran:  Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will travel to Vienna on Saturday to join a final push for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with major powers, state media reported.

“On Saturday morning, he will join his deputies who are at the talks drafting the text of a comprehensive agreement,” the official IRNA news agency reported today.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is to join the talks tomorrow, called on the Iranian side to address all outstanding issues.

“If they are not addressed, there won’t be a deal,” he stressed yesterday.

Iran and the so-called P5+1 group – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – are working to a June 30 deadline to allay international fears that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability.

Iran denies any such ambition but is eager to secure a lifting of crippling Western economic sanctions imposed over those concerns.

On Tuesday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei set out “red lines” for the negotiations, demanding an “immediate” lifting of sanctions by the United States as well as the United Nations in any deal.

He also renewed his opposition to any inspection of Iranian “military sites” by the UN watchdog.

President Hassan Rouhani said Iran was seeking not only a lifting of sanctions but a rapprochement with the outside world.

“One of the ways of establishing and enhancing national strength is having dialogue with the world over political issues,” IRNA quoted him as saying late yesterday.

“And the power of interaction is one of the main elements of national strength,” he added.

“As the leader put it, we want to negotiate. We don’t want to merely take a position, but we seek serious negotiation and fair agreement.”

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