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Iran Warns West to Lower Expectations on Nuclear Compromise

  • Reuters

FILE - Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif addresses a news conference after a meeting in Vienna.

FILE - Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif addresses a news conference after a meeting in Vienna.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned Western powers to curb their demands on limiting his country's nuclear activities in order to guarantee a landmark settlement, which he said was "within reach."

Iranian newspapers said on Wednesday that Zarif had written separate letters to his Western counterparts explaining Tehran's position ahead of the next round of talks in January.

"I am confident that a comprehensive agreement is within reach," he wrote, according to the Mehr news agency. "But we will firmly resist any humiliating illegitimate demands."

Zarif said Iran's goal was "a long-term comprehensive agreement guaranteeing its right to an exclusively peaceful nuclear program in return for full removal of all sanctions."

Six world powers known as the "P5+1" - the United States, France, Germany, Russia, China and Britain - reached a preliminary agreement with Iran last year for it to suspend its most sensitive nuclear activity.

Western countries in return eased some economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic over its past defiance in the 12-year nuclear dispute.

Iran says its program is peaceful, but the West fears it may lead to developing nuclear weapons. Iran and the P5+1 failed for the second time last month to meet a deadline for ending the stand-off, and they extended the preliminary accord until June 30.

The International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] said last week Iran had continued to meet commitments under an interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, despite failure to make "any further advances" on activities at two enrichment facilities and an unfinished heavy water reactor.

France and Britain, however, said around the same time that Iran had not demonstrated sufficient flexibility in the nuclear talks.

Western officials say Iran has not compromised on major sticking points, including the size and scope of its future uranium enrichment program and the speed of ending sanctions.

Under the interim deal's extension, Iran would continue to convert higher-grade uranium oxide into reactor fuel, there by making it harder and more time-consuming to turn it into the fissile core of a bomb. Tehran denies any such aim.

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