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Iran says much of nuclear deal already agreed

Deputy FM Abbas Araqchi indicates differences remain but ‘major part’ has been worked through

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi enters the mission of the European Union building on December 17, 2014 in Geneva. (Photo credit: AFP/ FABRICE COFFRINI)
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi enters the mission of the European Union building on December 17, 2014 in Geneva. (Photo credit: AFP/ FABRICE COFFRINI)

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Tuesday that major portions of a draft nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 worlds powers have been agreed on, while acknowledging that some small differences remained.

“We have now a text that a major part of it, even all its phrases, has been agreed but a part of it is still a source of difference,” Araqchi said in an interview upon arrival in Vienna on Tuesday, ahead of a next round of negotiations.

“In certain paragraphs, there is difference on one phrase and in certain other paragraphs, one sentence and in certain parts, the whole phrase has not been agreed; yet now a major part has ended,” he added.

Arachi said he hoped the agreement would be finalized by the target date of June 30.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman was to lead a US delegation to Vienna May 13 to join the next round of negotiations, the State Department said Monday.

The American team, which includes a representative of President Barack Obama’s National Security Council and experts on arms control, non-proliferation, economic sanctions and energy, departs Wednesday.

The European Union and Tehran said in a statement last week that the crunch talks aimed at hammering out a final deal by a self-imposed deadline of June 30 were to resume Tuesday in the Austrian capital.

The EU negotiator Helga Schmid and her Iranian counterparts would kick off the talks, with political leaders of the other world powers involved in the negotiations joining in on May 15, the statement said.

The so-called P5+1 group — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany — is conducting the sensitive negotiations aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, in exchange for an easing of punishing economic sanctions.

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