Enrichment part of the deal, Iran says

Nov. 22, 2013 at 10:59 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said uranium enrichment must be included in any nuclear deal under consideration in Geneva, Switzerland.

Zarif said Friday he met with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the chairwoman of nuclear talks between Iran and representatives from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

Iran said it will continue enriching uranium to 20 percent purity, a level seen as a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon. Iranian negotiators said following multilateral talks Thursday enrichment was a "red line" for Tehran.

"Yet, the Islamic republic's enrichment program will be a major part in any solution and any negotiation," Zarif was quoted as saying by Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency.

The U.S. government said it would hold off on new sanctions pressure on Iran so negotiating partners in Geneva have the space they need to move forward on a positive course.

"This conversation [on sanctions] will continue depending on the outcome of the next round of negotiations," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during her regular press briefing Thursday.

Psaki said negotiating partners were working in Geneva to ensure "we [get] a good deal" with the Iranians.

Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi said Friday, before negotiations resume, "it is still too soon to judge the results" of diplomatic efforts so far.

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