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Iranian president: world must 'seize opportunity' of nuclear deal

Two deadlines for a permanent agreement on Iran's nuclear program have already been missed

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Iranian President Hassan Rowhani said Tuesday that world powers must "seize the opportunity" of a landmark nuclear deal, saying Tehran had taken the "necessary steps" for an accord.


Rowhani's remarks appeared to be a response to U.S. President Barack Obama, who on Monday said: "The issues now are -- does Iran have the political will and the desire to get a deal done?"

"Right now good progress has been made although we are some distance away from the final agreement," the Iranian president said, during a meeting in Tehran with India's national security adviser Ajit Doval.

"Iran has taken necessary steps and now it's the other side's turn to seize the opportunity."

Two deadlines for a permanent agreement on Iran's controversial nuclear program have already been missed, requiring the talks to be extended.

Negotiators are now working toward the political outline of a deal by March 31, with the cut-off point for the technical details of a comprehensive accord by June 30.

Rowhani said that although gaps remain between Iran and the P5+1 powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- it was up to them to close a deal.

Disagreements center on the extent of nuclear activities Iran will be allowed to continue and the timetable for the lifting of sanctions.