As delegates from Iran and six world powers arrive in Vienna for a marathon final round of talks, Iran says it is ready to take concrete steps to ensure its nuclear program remains peaceful, but will not ''kneel in submission."
Speaking in a video message posted on YouTube, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged negotiators to use mutual respect in negotiations, rather than what he called a "spiral of escalation."
The parties face a July 20 deadline for a final agreement or risk the possibility that the talks could be extended and get tougher. Last month's attempts at a deal aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting U.N. and Western sanctions ended in a stalemate.
Along with Iran and the United States, other participants in the talks are Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia.
Secretary of State John Kerry wrote in The Washington Post on June 30 that Iran's leaders can "agree to the steps necessary to assure the world that their country’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful" ... "or they can squander a historic opportunity to end Iran’s economic and diplomatic isolation and improve the lives of their people."
Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful civilian purposes.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.
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