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Iranian negotiator: Talks on nuclear deal 'slowly' making progress
By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
22/12/2013
Iran's Deputy FM Araqchi tells state-run TV that technical talks, which resumed Thursday, are set to continue Sunday.
 
Technical talks between Iran and six world powers aimed at resolving complex technical steps of an interim deal reached in November on the Islamic Republic's nuclear issue were "slowly" making progress, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Saturday.

The senior Iranian negotiator told state-run IRNA news agency that the expert-level talks, which resumed on Thursday in Geneva, were set to continue for a fourth day on Sunday.

"The talks that extended to a third day are making progress but slowly," AFP quoted him as telling the television network.

The seven countries need to decide when the agreement goes into effect and to work out technical aspects of how Iran will suspend its most sensitive nuclear work.

According to Araqchi, the issue of uranium enrichment continued to be a point of contention in talks, as Iran remained adamant about maintaining such capabilities, IRNA reported. 

On Wednesday, Iran said it agreed to restart negotiations with the P5+1 powers in Geneva after walking out of technical talks in Vienna last Thursday in protest against the US tightening sanctions, saying the move was against the spirit of the nuclear deal.

The senior member of Iran's nuclear delegation said while Tehran was "not optimistic" about any of the P5+1 powers, his country had "entered the talks with pessimism" and the sentiment remained, particularly toward the United States.ˈ

The US Departments of State and Treasury on November 12, designated 19 additional Iranian companies as contributing to the progress of Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

US officials maintain the blacklisting does not violate the November 24 agreement and say they gave Iran advance warning of the action.

The six powers - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - are seeking to take a vital step in the current round of talks to curb Iran's atomic program to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Iran rejects Western fears that its nuclear work has any military intentions and says it needs nuclear power for electricity generation and medical research.

Michael Wilner contributed to this report.
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