As Iran Talks Falter, Rouhani Calls Enrichment 'Red Line'

Talks end with progress but no deal; will resume Nov. 20

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Nov 10, 2013 7:08 AM CST

(Newser) – Iranian officials said today it made progress with world powers during "serious" talks over Tehran's nuclear program, but insisted the nation cannot be pushed to give up uranium enrichment as negotiations move into tougher ground. The remarks on enrichment repeat past declarations on the country's "right" to produce nuclear fuel, which is a key element of the talks. But President Hasan Rouhani and his top envoys seek to assure hard-line critics that Iran will not make sweeping concessions, which ended without agreement in Geneva early today and are scheduled to resume next week.

All sides proclaimed progress, and in an important shift, the US and others no longer appear to demand a complete halt to enrichment and are concentrating on curbing the highest-level production, currently at 20%. In an address to parliament, Rouhani said uranium enrichment is a "red line" that cannot be crossed. "Nuclear rights in the international framework, including uranium enrichment, on its soil" are not negotiable, Rouhani was quoted as saying by the semiofficial ISNA news agency. "For us red lines are not crossable." Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu said today he had spoken with the leaders of the US, Russia, France, Britain and Germany, pressing them to not reach a hasty deal. "I asked them to delay and I'm glad they did. I do not fool myself—there will be an agreement. I hope it will (be) a good one." The next round of talks is set for Nov. 20.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends a press conference at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Nuclear talks with Iran have failed to reach agreement, but Kerry said differences between Tehran and six world powers made significant progress.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends a press conference at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Nuclear talks with Iran have failed to reach agreement, but Kerry...   (Jason Reed)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, gestures next to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, right, during the third day of closed-door nuclear talks  in Geneva Switzerland, Saturday, Nov.  9, 2013.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, gestures next to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, right, during the third day of closed-door nuclear talks in Geneva Switzerland,...   (Jean-christophe Bott)
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius on his way to a meeting, during the third day of closed-door nuclear talks with Iran  in Geneva Switzerland, Saturday, Nov.  9, 2013. Iran and six world powers remain split on terms of a nuclear deal because Tehran is resisting demands that it suspends work...
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius on his way to a meeting, during the third day of closed-door nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva Switzerland, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. Iran and six world powers remain...   (Jean-christophe Bott)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, center, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, pause  during the third day of closed-door nuclear talks  in Geneva Switzerland, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, center, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, pause during the third day...   (Jean-christophe Bott)
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong, front left, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, third from left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, fifth from left, Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, front right, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, second from right, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, fourth...
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong, front left, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, third from left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, fifth from left, Germany's Foreign...   (Jean-christophe Bott)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks out of a press conference at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Nuclear talks with Iran have failed to reach agreement, but Kerry said differences between Tehran and six world powers made significant progress.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks out of a press conference at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Nuclear talks with Iran have failed to reach agreement, but...   (Jason Reed)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during the Iran nuclear talks in Geneva, Switzerland, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. France raised questions Saturday about whether a proposed deal to temporarily curb Iran's nuclear program went far enough, complicating negotiations with the Iranians...
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, meets with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during the Iran nuclear talks in Geneva, Switzerland, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. France raised questions Saturday...   (Jason Reed)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry checks his phone before a meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva, Switzerland, Saturday Nov. 9, 2013. US Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany...
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry checks his phone before a meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva, Switzerland,...   (Jason Reed)
Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, arrive at a press conference at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. The European Union's top diplomat and Iran's foreign minister said nuclear talks between six...
Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, arrive at a press conference at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva,...   (Jason Reed)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gestures to Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, as they arrive at a press conference at the end of nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gestures to Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, as they arrive at a press conference at the end of nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.   (Jason Reed)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leaves after a news conference held at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Nuclear talks with Iran have failed to reach agreement, but Kerry said differences between Tehran and six world powers made significant progress.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leaves after a news conference held at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Nuclear talks with Iran have failed to reach agreement,...   (Jason Reed)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, gestures while leaving a press conference at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Nuclear talks with Iran have failed to reach agreement, but Kerry said differences between Tehran and six world powers made significant progress....
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, gestures while leaving a press conference at the end of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Nuclear talks with Iran have failed to reach...   (Jason Reed)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks to parliament in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks to parliament in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrive at a press conference at the end of nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.
Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrive at a press conference at the end of nuclear talks in Geneva, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)
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