Iran agrees to framework for "comprehensive" nuclear talks
Iran and the world powers will sit down again in Vienna in March. (AFP)
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Iran and six world powers have agreed on an agenda for negotiations over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program and will meet again in March in Vienna, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying according to Agence France-Presse.
"After two days of intensive talks, Iran and world powers reached an agreement on the framework and plan of action for the comprehensive nuclear talks," Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying by IRNA decade-old standoff over Tehran’s atomic activities.
Negotiators from Iran and the six powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia - have been meeting since Tuesday in the Austrian capital to hammer out an agenda for reaching an ambitious final settlement for an agenda framework.
The negotiations, likely to extend over several months, could help defuse years of hostility between energy-exporting Iran and the West, ease the danger of a new war in the Middle East, transform the regional power balance and open up major business opportunities for Western firms.
The six powers hope to get a deal done by late July, when an interim accord struck in November expires.
The November agreement, made possible by the election of relative moderate President Hassan Rouhani on a platform of ending Iran's international isolation, obliged Tehran to suspend its most sensitive atom work in return for some relief from economic sanctions.
As part of a final deal, Iran expects the United States, the European Union and the United Nations to lift painful economic sanctions, but western governments will be wary of giving up their leverage too soon.
During a decade of on-and-off dialogue with world powers, Iran has rejected their allegations that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability. It says it is enriching uranium only for electricity generation and medical purposes.