Iran: Nuke talks might be extended if deadline missed

Iran rejects allegations from Western powers and their allies that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability

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Talks over Iran's nuclear program might be extended if disagreement over remaining issues cannot be resolved by a November deadline, Iran's top negotiator was quoted as saying on Friday, in the first hint an extension was being contemplated.

"Iran and the P5+1 (major world powers) are very serious on resolving the remaining disputes until November ... but everything including an extension is possible if we cannot reach an agreement," Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.


Iran and the six - the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain - hope that resolving the more-than-decade long nuclear standoff with Iran will reduce regional tensions and alleviate the risk of another war in the Middle East.

Top diplomats of the United States, Iran and the European Union will meet in Vienna next week to work on a comprehensive deal ahead of a Nov. 24 deadline.

"Iran and Western powers are very determined and serious to reach a result," Araqchi said.

"We are still optimistic about meeting the deadline."

Iran rejects allegations from Western powers and their allies that it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability, but has refused to halt uranium enrichment, and been hit with U.S., European Union and U.N. Security Council sanctions as a result.

Enrichment is a process of purifying uranium for use as fuel for power plants or, if enriched to a very high purity, for bombs.

Iranian and Western diplomats say significant differences remain over the future scope of Iran's uranium enrichment activity. A series of meetings have been held since early this year to try and narrow the gaps.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said this week Washington still believed a deal was possible by the agreed target date.

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