US denies claims that Iran deal has been finalized

State Dept reports progress in technical talks to rein in nuclear program, but maintains there are still gaps

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi (YouTube/Press TV/File)
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi (YouTube/Press TV/File)

The US State Department quickly dismissed an Iranian state television report Friday that negotiators in Geneva had resolved all outstanding issues between the parties in regard to an interim nuclear agreement.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters that technical talks were making good progress, but that a deal had not been cemented.

“There have been a few outstanding issues, but at this point, the reports that everything has been finalized are incorrect,” she said.

Earlier Friday, the Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who said that the sides had resolved all issues and that the negotiators would now turn to their respective governments for approval. Over the last two days, the six major world powers involved in the talks, the so-called P5+1, were represented by the European Union.

“All the outstanding political and technical issues were resolved but the final decision will be taken by the respective capitals,” IRNA quoted Araqchi, who reportedly added that Iran and the P5+1 would have two days to accept of reject the deal.

Araqchi told Reuters that the negotiators had found “solutions for every difference.”

“Now we are taking the solutions … home, all of us. Hopefully tomorrow we can either confirm or not, but hopefully confirm,” he said.

An EU spokesperson said “very good” progress had been made “on all of the pertinent issues,” reported Reuters, but the official said any developments on terms would have to be validated by more senior officials.

The interim deal — limiting Iran’s nuclear program in return for the easing of non-core sanctions — was reached in Geneva in November but has not been implemented because of disagreements over “technical issues.”

In Washington, DC, congressional aides said Friday that 59 US senators now support tougher sanctions on Iran, despite ongoing negotiations.

The Obama administration has warned that such a measure would risk scuttling the talks, but lawmakers who first seemed receptive to that view are now shifting and looking to put more pressure on Tehran to make concessions on it’s nuclear program.

Iran maintains that its nuclear program is for peaceful use only, a claim that the international community has largely dismissed.

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