Iran, P5-plus-1 countries hold talks on nuclear program

Feb. 18, 2014 at 7:34 AM

VIENNA, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Representatives from Iran and the P5-plus-1 countries met Tuesday in Vienna for comprehensive talks about Iran's nuclear program, officials said.

Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran's Foreign Ministry director-general for political and international affairs, said he is prepared to defend Iran's nuclear rights in the negotiations, Fars News Agency reported.

"The use of new and advanced centrifuges and Arak heavy water reactor are among the most important issues to be discussed for the final agreement," Baeidinejad said Sunday

P5-plus-1 diplomats said they're skeptical an agreement can be formed in time for the July deadline, the Financial Times reported.

Senior diplomatic sources from two of the Western P5-plus-1 group -- which consists of permanent U.N. Security Council members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany -- said they see little chance of the talks being successful, the Financial Times said.

"It's going to be very difficult for them to reach a comprehensive solution by July," Mark Fitzpatrick, former non-proliferation deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. State Department and now the director of the non-proliferation program at the think-tank International Institute for Strategic Studies, was quoted as saying. "There will be those who accuse the [Western] governments of appeasement and of failure as a result."

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