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Iran ready to prove not pursuing nuclear weapons: FM

TEHRAN: Tehran is ready to prove that the country is not trying to produce nuclear weapons, the official IRNA news agency quoted Iran’s foreign minister as saying on Thursday.
The Islamic republic “is ready to prove to the world that it is not, and has not been after nuclear weapons,” Mohammad-Javad Zarif said Wednesday on the sidelines of a nuclear meeting between Iran and six world powers.
Although the ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group (the five permanent members of UN Security Council plus Germany) are moving slowly, and differences are still there, both sides have started drafting a comprehensive deal, said the top Iranian diplomat.
“Some demands of the P5+1 are totally unacceptable, and we hope that they would have realistic stances” over the differences regarding Iran’s nuclear issue, he added.
Nuclear negotiators of the world powers and Iran started new round of talks in Vienna on Monday in an attempt to reduce differences and to start drafting a comprehensive nuclear accord.
The West demands that Iran dramatically lower its uranium enrichment capacity, and wants Tehran to maintain only a few hundred centrifuges.
The powers have also expressed concerns over Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor which might be used for building nuclear weapons. But Iran insists on the “peaceful” nature of its nuclear activities, urging for a complete removal of sanctions that is hurting its economy badly.
Earlier, Iran’s top negotiator Abbas Araqchi told IRNA that Iran hoped to settle all differences with the six negotiating partners by the deadline.
“It won’t be a catastrophe” if the July 20 deadline is not met.. .We hope to start work on Wednesday on drafting the text of a final agreement, not the big issues but the general framework and the introduction,” Araqchi said. He also warned that there is a still a long way to go before a final agreement that is acceptable to all sides can be reached. Iran and the world powers struck last November an interim deal that led to the release of a partial lift of Western sanctions on Tehran in return for a slowdown of Iran’s controversial uranium enrichment. 

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