World powers rise early and head for Geneva as Iran nuclear deal appears close

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All the participants in the Iranian nuclear talks are now committed to what looks likely to be an intense day of talks in Geneva.

The six world powers engaging with Iran on its nuclear programme had said they would only come to Saturday’s talks if there was a deal to sign.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague tweeted his imminent arrival, and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius and Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov were also early risers.

All sides say they have made progress and appear closer to clinching a breakthrough in negotiations.

If an agreement is reached it would mean a limitation on some of Iran’s most sensitive nuclear activity in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions.

Diplomats in Geneva said a major sticking point may have been overcome. That is Iran’s so-called right to enrich uranium being internationally recognised. A compromise may open the way to the breakthrough they have been waiting for.

There are other potential stumbling blocks, though: like the fate of Iran’s Arak heavy-water reactor project which is a potential source of alternative bomb material, plutonium, and the extent of sanctions relief.

If an agreement is reached for a six-month suspension of some of Iran’s most sensitive nuclear activity, the leaders will use their time to hammer out a broader and longer-term
accord.

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