Iran Focus

Washington, 15 Jul - The United States on Wednesday circulated a draft resolution to the UN Security Council that would endorse the Iran nuclear deal, reached earlier in the week between Tehran and the major world powers, but retain an arms embargo and ban on ballistic missile technology, said diplomats ahead of a likely vote next week.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power briefed the 15-member council on the draft document behind closed doors.

The deal reached on Tuesday in Vienna with Iran was negotiated by Germany, the European Union and the five permanent, veto-wielding members of the Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

PARIS (AFP): An exiled Iranian opposition group known for making revelations about Tehran's nuclear drive in the past regretted Tuesday that Iran was allowed to continue enriching uranium under a historic deal.

Reached on day 18 of marathon talks between the 5+1 countries - the United States, Russia, France, Britain, China and Germany - and Iran, the deal aims at resolving a 13-year standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Iran Focus

Vienna, 7 Jul - A dispute over United Nations sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program and a broader arms embargo were among issues holding up a nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers on Monday, the day before their latest self-imposed deadline.

"The Iranians want the ballistic missile sanctions lifted. They say there is no reason to connect it with the nuclear issue, a view that is difficult to accept", one Western official told Reuters. "There's no appetite for that on our part".

Iranian and other Western officials confirmed this view. The foreign ministers of the P5+1 states - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - met on Monday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif - and were expected to meet again soon - to try to strike a deal by Tuesday night.

Iran Focus

London, 14 Jul - Iran and six major world powers reached a nuclear deal on Tuesday, capping more than a decade of negotiations to curb Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons program.

US President Barack Obama hailed a step towards a "more hopeful world" and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said it proved that "constructive engagement works". But Israel pledged to do what it could to halt what it called an "historic surrender".

The agreement will now be debated in the U.S. Congress, but Obama said he would veto any measure to block it.

Iran Focus

Tehran, 6 Jul - The United Nations’ atomic watchdog and Iran held "intense discussions" in Tehran on Monday about Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of the country's nuclear programme, an Iranian official said.

The meeting was held as parallel talks were underway in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 countries on the eve of a deadline for what would be a historic accord on the country's suspect nuclear drive.

It comes just days after the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, visited Tehran to try to advance Iran's negotiations with world powers over its nuclear programme.

Iran Focus

London, 14 Jul - Top Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi on Tuesday warned that an agreement reached earlier in the day between the world powers and Iran to curb its nuclear projects would “not close the mullahs’ path to deception and access to a nuclear bomb”.

“Despite many shortages and illegitimate concessions to the mullahs, the nuclear deal struck by the P5+1 and the Iranian regime forces [Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei to retreat and violate the declared redlines he had repeatedly insisted on over the past 12 years, including in recent weeks”, Rajavi said in a statement.

Iran Focus

Vienna, 5 Jul - Crunch talks between Iran and world powers aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program "could go either way", US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Vienna on Sunday.

Negotiators from the P5+1 countries - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - and Iran are in Vienna trying to strike a deal whereby Tehran would curb parts of its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Iran Focus

Washington, 12 Jul - United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday led a chorus of bipartisan concern from congressional leaders and 2016 presidential candidates about an Iran nuclear deal, amid reports that negotiators are expected to reach a provisional agreement.

"This is going to be a very hard sell for the administration", the Kentucky Republican said on "Fox News Sunday", when asked about the likelihood of Congress signing off on a deal.

Iran Focus

London, 4 Jul - Former US Secretary of State and Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton on Friday said on Friday she hoped 18 months of nuclear talks between Iran and major powers would yield a deal in the coming days to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

“I so hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts the lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” she said at a rally on the Dartmouth College campus in Hanover, New Hampshire. “Even if we do get such a deal, we will still have major problems from Iran."

Iran Focus

Washington, 10 Jul - An alternative to ongoing international negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions is to bomb its facilities, according to a senior member of US President Barack Obama's Democratic Party in the US House of Representatives.

That bombing plot would set Iran’s progress back just a few years, said Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Iran Focus

London, 3 July - The head of the UN nuclear agency, tasked with monitoring Iran's nuclear activities, is suggesting that a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has done little to advance his probe of alleged work by Tehran on an atomic weapon.

Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Friday "more work will be needed" to kick-start the investigation. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani continues to deny the allegations, reflecting the stalemate that has stretched to nearly a decade.

Iran Focus

Vienna, 10 Jul - The world powers will not be rushed into making a nuclear deal with Iran, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday. His remarks suggested an accord with Iran was unlikely hours ahead of a deadline set by the US Congress for a quick review.

"We’re here because we believe we are making real progress toward a comprehensive deal. But as I have said many times and as I discussed with President Obama last night, we are not going to sit at the negotiating table forever", Kerry told reporters.

Washington, 1 Jul - US President Barack Obama warned Iran on Tuesday that there would be no nuclear deal if Tehran does not agree to "serious, rigorous" inspections of its facilities.

"The goal of the nuclear negotiations is not to rely on trust, but to set up a verifiable mechanism where we are cutting off the pathways for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon", Obama said.

Iran Focus

London, 9 Jul - Prominent Iranian and US experts on the Iran nuclear crisis on Wednesday warned that the world powers were offering Tehran too many concessions in the ongoing nuclear negotiations.

Key Western goals in the negotiations - including one to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons capabilities - have been abandoned, said former US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Amb. Robert G. Joseph.

Washington, 29 Jun - Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said Sunday that the United States has lost its edge going into the final days of international negotiations with Iran to curbs its nuclear projects in return for an end to economic sanctions.

“I would actually fear that the Iranians have the upper hand right now,” Hayden said on ‘Fox News Sunday’.

Iran Focus

Tehran, 8 Jul - "Pursuing the Strategy of Destruction of Israel" is the Muslim world’s top priority, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement came as Iranian nuclear negotiators are in marathon talks with the world powers in Vienna in the hopes of signing an international agreement.

The IRGC statement, which was carried by Iranian state news agencies, called for a large turnout in Iran and other Muslim countries at state rallies on Friday which Tehran recognises as International Quds (Jerusalem) Day.

Washington, 25 Jun - Iran's main opposition group on Thursday unveiled a detailed report on Tehran's strategies in nuclear negotiations with the world powers, which it is purportedly pursuing to keep its nuclear infrastructure intact and retain the capability to produce a nuclear weapon.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the group which first blew the whistle on Iran's secret uranium enrichment and heavy-water sites in 2002, provided the 28-page report titled “Can the Iran regime be trusted?” at a press conference in Washington.

Iran Focus

Vienna, 7 Jul - Negotiations on a nuclear agreement between Iran and six major powers will be extended through Friday to provide more time for talks on a final agreement, United States negotiators said on Tuesday.

"We've made substantial progress in every area, but this work is highly technical and high stakes for all of the countries involved", Marie Harf, the spokeswoman for the US delegation, said in a statement. "We're frankly more concerned about the quality of the deal than we are about the clock, though we also know that difficult decisions won't get any easier with time — that is why we are continuing to negotiate".

US Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned Iran's foreign minister in recent days to tell him that Tehran must answer questions about whether its past atomic research was arms-related if it wants a nuclear deal, officials said.

The telephone calls came after Kerry raised eyebrows among some Western officials by saying the U.S. was "not fixated" on any past Iranian work, about which it already had "absolute knowledge," and was looking to the future instead, Reuters reported.


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