Nuclear deal ‘very likely’ by July deadline: Rohani

Nuclear deal ‘very likely’ by July deadline: Rohani

Talks between Iran and six world powers on a comprehensive deal over its nuclear programme are “very likely” to reach a successful conclusion by a July 20 deadline, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on Thursday.

By (AFP, Reuters)

Published: Sat 24 May 2014, 12:41 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:33 AM

“The signs that we have been receiving in the last few days are telling us we are very likely to come to an agreement by the end of July,” Rohani told reporters in Shanghai, speaking through a translator. “We can achieve this.”

Iran insists its nuclear technology activities are aimed at civilian use, while Western powers suspect its drive masks military objectives.

“It takes time” to resolve outstanding issues, Rohani said a day after attending an Asian security forum in China’s commercial hub of Shanghai.

“We cannot expect it to be resolved in a few meetings.”

He did not specify problems in the talks with the five United Nations (UN) Security Council permanent members plus Germany — known as the P5+1 group.

But he said outstanding issues had been a “matter of contention for years”, suggesting they involved Iran’s nuclear programme.

Rohani criticised unnamed countries for acting slowly and creating obstacles in the nuclear talks. “There are certain countries behind the scenes that want to create problems. If they are not given a chance to sabotage talks, then we have enough time to achieve the ultimate success,” he said.

But he also said the July 20 deadline could be extended if agreement could not be reached in time. “Let’s say we don’t come to an agreement by that deadline, we can extend that interim agreement by another six months,” he said.

Rohani met Chinese President Xi Jinping for bilateral talks on Thursday. China is party to the nuclear talks as a permanent UN Security Council member.

Meanwhile, Russia could sign an agreement this year to build eight new reactors for nuclear power plants in Iran, state-run Russian news agency RIA reported on Thursday, citing a source it did not identify.

Russia built Iran’s only operating nuclear power reactor, at the Bushehr plant.

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