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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US, Iran Enter 2nd Day of Nuclear Talks

by VOA News February 23, 2015

Washington and Tehran's top diplomats met for a second day Monday for talks on Iran's nuclear program as the end-of-March deadline for reaching an interim agreement edges closer.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif negotiated in a Geneva hotel, with officials saying that gaps remain in reaching an accord.

​​The talks between Iran and six world powers are centered on the amount of uranium Tehran will be allowed to enrich, the number of centrifuges it can operate and how fast economic sanctions against Tehran will be lifted.

The diplomats were joined in Geneva by Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

U.S. and Iranian negotiators have been meeting since Friday in an attempt to resolve ongoing technical disputes standing in the way of a comprehensive deal between Iran and the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany.

The two sides have given themselves until March 31 to reach a framework agreement, with a July 1 deadline for a permanent deal that would ensure Iran's nuclear activities are peaceful in exchange for lifting the economic sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.

Excluding Tehran called discriminatory

In Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called it discriminatory that the nine countries in the world known or believed to have nuclear capability want to exclude Iran from joining the group.

'Why do the irrational pressures (against Iran's nuclear program) still continue?' Rouhani asked.

'The response should be found in the efforts by members of the club of science and technology owners who seek to prevent access of other countries to this club. This domineering behavior is an obvious instance of imposing scientific discrimination. Any other developing country could become target of such behavior, too,' he said.

Kerry said the six countries negotiating with Iran remain united.

'There is absolutely no divergence whatsoever in what we believe is necessary for Iran to prove that its nuclear program is going to be peaceful in the future,' he said.

The latest talks come as the United Nations nuclear agency said last week it remains concerned about the possible existence of "undisclosed nuclear-related activities" in Iran that could include work linked to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.

But the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran is in compliance with some provisions of a nuclear agreement.

Iranian state media reports quote Iran's IAEA ambassador, Reza Najafi, as saying the findings show his country's "full transparency" and the peaceful nature of its program.



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