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Hague Says Iran Deal 'Within Reach'


British Foreign Secretary William Hague (file photo)

British Foreign Secretary William Hague (file photo)

British Foreign Secretary William Hague says a deal between world powers and Iran to curb Tehran's nuclear program is within reach.

Speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation on November 10, Hague said it was vital to keep the momentum because a deal is within reach.

"On the question about will [a deal with Iran] happen in the next few weeks -- there is a good chance of that, but as I say it is a formidably difficult negotiation," Hague said. "I can't say exactly when it will conclude, but we will be trying again on the 20th and 21st of November and negotiators will be trying again."

Earlier in the day, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said Iran would not abandon its nuclear rights, including uranium enrichment.

Iran ISNA news agency quoted Rohani as telling the conservative-dominated parliament that "there are red lines that must not be crossed." He said these include the right to enrich uranium "on Iranian soil."

Rohani's comments followed three days of marathon talks between Iran and Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany that failed to clinch a long-sought deal.

The parties agreed to reconvene in Geneva on November 20.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that no agreement was reached because some questions still need to be resolved.

No details were immediately available on the remaining issues. But some reports suggested possible tensions among Western nations over France’s hard line that emerged in Geneva.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the talks as "very good" and as something negotiators can build on.

He said some disagreements among the parties were to be expected, and said he was not discouraged by the failure to reach a deal.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also said the talks had made significant progress, and that an agreement could soon be reached.

Kerry said, however, that the United States remains determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and warned that the window for diplomacy will not stay open indefinitely.

The Americans and Iranians have not had formal diplomatic ties for more than three decades.

The prospect of a possible deal between Iran and the world powers has opened a rift between the United States and its strong Middle East ally, Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on November 10 urged world powers not to rush into signing a "dangerous" deal with Iran.

Netanyahu said he had told the leaders of the Western powers negotiating with Iran that the mooted deal was "bad."

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, DPA, Reuters, and the BBC
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