Russia says Iran deal may be reached by year's end

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday expressed hope that a consensus on Iran's disputed nuclear program will be reached by the year's end, repeating warnings to Western nations against punishing Tehran, a Russian news agency said. "I hope that in the days left before New Year it is quite possible to reach a consensus, if our partners show realism and will not insist on positions, which in our opinion have nothing to do with the task that we all face - to encourage Iran for talks, not try to punish it," Lavrov was quoted as saying by the RIA-Novosti news agency. The six key nations involved in negotiations on Iran's nuclear program are working out a UN Security Council resolution aimed at convincing Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.