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                                        Volume. 12137

Next round of Iran nuclear talks set for July 2-20
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_famous_02_am32.jpgTEHRAN – A senior Iranian nuclear negotiator announced on Sunday that the next round of talks between Iran and the major powers on a comprehensive nuclear deal will be held in Vienna from July 2 to 20.
 
In this round of talks, Iran and the major powers are going to draft the text of a comprehensive nuclear agreement to solve the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program, which has dragged on for over a decade.   
 
Abbas Araqchi said that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who coordinates the talks on behalf of the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), will supervise the process of drafting the text of the final deal. 
 
In addition, the Iranian deputy foreign minister said that foreign ministers of the 5+1 group will travel to Vienna if the two sides can reach an agreement on the final deal. 
 
The current process of negotiations is meant to build on a landmark interim nuclear deal Iran and the six major powers clinched last November in Geneva. 
 
Under the Geneva deal, Iran agreed not to expand its nuclear program for six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief. The agreement came into force on January 20. Iran and the powers have set a July 20 deadline to clinch a long-term comprehensive nuclear deal. The deadline can be extended by another half year if both sides agree.   
 
Iran and the 5+1 group held an intense round of nuclear talks from June 16 to 20 in Vienna. Although the two sides were seriously engaged in the negotiations, only a moderate amount of progress was made in the most recent round of talks, and the two sides only managed to draw up a “working document” which is “heavily bracketed” due to the remaining disagreements. 
 
It seems that the major powers’ unrealistic demands with regard to Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity under a comprehensive nuclear deal have hindered the progress of the negotiations.    
 
The main stumbling block to reaching a final nuclear agreement by the July 20 deadline is the issue of the number of centrifuges, although there are some other sticking points, including the types of centrifuges Iran uses, the mechanism for lifting the sanctions, and the duration of the implementation of the final deal.    
AM/PA 

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