Deal Near? Kerry Heads to Iran Talks

Uranium enrichment rights remain point of contention
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 22, 2013 4:07 PM CST
In this Nov. 18, 2013 file photo, Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(Newser) – In the event that an Iranian nuclear deal appeared close, six world powers' head diplomats were poised to head to Geneva, the New York Times notes—and now John Kerry is doing just that. Already today, Russia's foreign minister did the same; Britain's foreign secretary has tweeted that he'll go tomorrow, per the BBC. Kerry decided to join the talks following a discussion with the EU's Catherine Ashton, who is heading negotiations with Iran. Kerry aims "to help narrow the differences and move closer to an agreement," says a state department rep.

The talks were set to end today, but Kerry's visit indicates they'll continue, CNN notes. Negotiators are hoping Iran will agree to suspend its nuclear program for six months while they reach a wider agreement, the Times explains. But the sides disagree over Iran's right to enrich uranium. While Iran wants the short-term deal to state that it has that right, Western officials want to keep things less specific. They won't put up a fight if Iran claims the right, but they don't want it stated in the deal, CNN reports. There are also questions over how to address work on a heavy-water reactor in the town of Arak, both sides say.

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