• Kerry joins Iran nuclear talks for final push


    WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Iran nuclear talks enter the homestretch as Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Vienna on Friday to try bridging significant gaps, so a deal can be reached by Tuesday’s targeted deadline.

    An agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program, in exchange for lifting international sanctions, is being negotiated with Tehran by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China—plus Germany.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday he will not allow a delay or pressure to hurry an agreement to harm his country’s interests.

    “We are seeking to defend the nation’s rights through dialogue and interaction,” Rouhani said, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is also scheduled to arrive in Vienna on Friday, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is expected Saturday.

    There are signs the talks could miss the self-imposed deadline of June 30 after recent comments by Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, show serious differences remain.

    In a speech Tuesday, Khamenei ruled out “unusual” inspections by international inspectors of Iran’s military sites, as well as a long-term freeze to nuclear research and development. He demanded the immediate lifting of all economic sanctions, including those imposed by the United Nations, the European Union and Congress.

    Kerry said Khamenei’s comments were “for domestic political consumption.” Kerry said the goal is to achieve a deal that fleshes out the framework reached April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    The White House said after the framework was announced that the United States would lift nuclear-related sanctions incrementally as international inspectors certified that Iran met the terms of a deal. Other sanctions imposed on Iran for human rights violations and support of terrorism are to remain in place as long as those violations persist.



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