Russian FM: ‘Very good chance’ of nuclear deal with Iran

Russian FM: ‘Very good chance’ of nuclear deal with Iran

Sergey Lavrov indicates there are no 'fundamental disagreements' on the issues left to be resolved in discussions

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (photo credit: AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (photo credit: AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday that there was a “very good chance” of reaching a deal with Iran over its controversial nuclear program in the next round of talks slated for November 20  in Geneva

Last weekend’s marathon talks between the P5+1 world powers and Tehran reportedly neared but ended without an agreement, mainly due to French reservations about the terms.

“Our general impression is that there is a very good chance that must not be missed,” Lavrov was quoted by the Russian new agency Interfax as saying.

“Now there are no fundamental disagreements on the issues that need to be resolved in practical terms,” he said, adding that it was imperative that world powers “correctly draw up the agreement we have reached in diplomatic language to make it a truly joint document rather than the one imposed from outside.”

Lavrov indicated that talks should not be focused on “submitting some artificial additions that do not help solve the main task and don’t essentially change anything.”

The Russian foreign minister echoed statements made by a senior US official Friday indicating that it was “quite possible” an agreement with Iran could be reached next week, but that there were still some tough issues to iron out.

Lavrov on Thursday claimed the potential agreement last week was scuttled when the US, under pressure from France, inserted last-minute changes into a working draft.

Speaking in Cairo, Lavrov said the United States had amended the draft in response to French demands and circulated it for approval “literally at the last moment, when we were about to leave Geneva,” without consulting Iran. His comments were reported by Voice of Russia.

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter to keep up pressure on Western powers over negotiations with Iran on its rogue nuclear program and to warn against rushing into a “bad deal.”

In his latest salvo against making concessions to Iran, Netanyahu’s Twitter account featured a cartoon-like ad that detailed what he said the pending agreement included.

“The proposal enables Iran to develop atomic bombs and build long-range missiles to reach the US and Europe,” it read. “Iran is getting everything and giving nothing.”

Netanyahu has been increasingly vocal in recent days about his opposition to a potential deal between six Western powers and Iran that would ease some sanctions while still leaving Iran with uranium-enrichment capabilities. Netanyahu has said he utterly rejects the brewing agreement and has been lobbying American allies in Congress to keep up sanctions.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Netanyahu three times last week in Israel to discuss the negotiations and US President Barack Obama followed up with a phone call to try and ease the Israeli leader’s concerns. Israel highlights relentless anti-Israeli rhetoric issued by Iran, and its support for Islamic extremist groups in southern Lebanon and Gaza, and has insisted that Tehran must be prevented from attaining a nuclear weapons capability. If necessary, Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly six weeks ago, Israel would “stand alone” to thwart the Iranian nuclear program.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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