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Ayatollah: Nuclear Talks 'Will Lead Nowhere'

Pessimism high as talks resume today in Vienna
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2014 7:32 AM CST
Ayatollah: Nuclear Talks 'Will Lead Nowhere'
In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech, in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 17, 2014.   (AP Photo/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

(Newser) – Negotiators from Iran and six other nations will convene today in Vienna to try to hammer out a permanent follow-up to Iran's temporary nuclear deal, but expectations aren't exactly soaring. "The nuclear negotiations will lead nowhere," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicted yesterday, echoing the feelings of many observers, the New York Times reports. Khamenei did, however, add that he supported the effort, and his foreign minister sang a different tune. "We have come here with the political will to reach a final agreement," Mohammad Javad Zarif said after meeting with EU officials, according to the Guardian.

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US officials were also downplaying their chances. One senior official said it was "probably as likely that we won't get an agreement as it is that we will," Reuters reports. He also said that Iran's recent oil export spike, and possible oil deal with Russia, would have "no impact in particular" on talks or sanctions, the LA Times notes. In any case, don't expect quick results; today's talks will focus on how to structure negotiations, because "when the stakes are this high, the devil is truly in the details," the US official said. On the bright side, the state department's top negotiator told CNN that Iran has kept all its commitments from the temporary deal. (Read more Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stories.)

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