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Nov 24, 2014

Iran’s Rouhani says two sides’ positions closer after nuclear talks

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the positions of Tehran and six major powers over its nuclear programme had come closer after a week of marathon talks that failed to clinch a final agreement.

“During the talks in Vienna many gaps were narrowed and our positions with the other side got closer,” Rouhani told Iranian state television.

Nov 23, 2014

Iran, powers set to miss nuclear talks deadline, seek extension

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran, the United States and other world powers are all but certain to miss Monday’s deadline for negotiations to resolve a 12-year stand-off over Tehran’s atomic ambitions, forcing them to seek an extension, sources say.

The talks in Vienna could lead to a transformation of the Middle East, open the door to ending economic sanctions on Iran and start to bring a nation of 76 million people in from the cold after decades of hostility with the West.

Nov 22, 2014

Iran nuclear talks may be extended as U.S. sees ‘big gaps’

VIENNA (Reuters) – World powers and Iran struggled on Saturday to overcome crucial differences that are preventing them from ending a 12-year standoff over Tehran’s atomic ambitions, raising the prospect of another extension to the high-stake talks.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “big gaps” remained with two days to go before a self-imposed Nov. 24 deadline for an accord, despite signs of some headway. A European source said the likelihood of a final deal by Monday was “very small”.

Nov 22, 2014

U.S. briefs Gulf allies on Iran nuclear talks, still sees ‘big gaps’

VIENNA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held telephone discussions with Gulf states and other allies on Saturday, U.S. officials said, as efforts intensified to reach a deal with Iran on its nuclear program by Monday’s deadline.

Diplomatic sources said on Friday that Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif were discussing new ideas to unblock the negotiations between Tehran and six powers: the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

Nov 21, 2014

Iran, U.S., French officials to leave nuclear talks as deadline looms

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will leave the nuclear talks with six world powers on Friday and return to Tehran for top level discussions four days before a deadline for a final agreement expires.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will also return to Paris later on Friday for consultations on the Iranian nuclear issue, U.S. and French officials said.

Nov 21, 2014

Insight – France tempers Iran nuclear stance in nod to wider diplomatic needs

PARIS (Reuters) – A year after France scuppered a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme it is taking a softer stance in current talks, encouraged by a more inclusive U.S. approach and the knowledge that failure this year could have grim repercussions across the broader region.

France, a U.N. Security Council veto-holder, has long held out for strict terms trading a loosening of international sanctions on Iran’s oil-based economy in return for commitments by Tehran to show its nuclear work is as peaceful as it insists.

Nov 21, 2014

France tempers Iran nuclear stance in nod to wider diplomatic needs

PARIS (Reuters) – A year after France scuppered a deal on Iran’s nuclear program it is taking a softer stance in current talks, encouraged by a more inclusive U.S. approach and the knowledge that failure this year could have grim repercussions across the broader region.

France, a U.N. Security Council veto-holder, has long held out for strict terms trading a loosening of international sanctions on Iran’s oil-based economy in return for commitments by Tehran to show its nuclear work is as peaceful as it insists.

Nov 5, 2014

Iran nuclear deal harder after Nov. 24 – Kerry

PARIS (Reuters) – Reaching a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers will be more difficult if negotiations drag beyond a November 24 deadline, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

Kerry, speaking ahead of his planned weekend talks with Iran’s foreign minister, said the United States and its allies were not – for now – weighing an extension of the negotiations.

Nov 5, 2014

French Socialists eye parliamentary vote on Palestinian recognition

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s ruling Socialist party wants parliament to recognize a Palestinian state, parliamentary sources said, following similar moves by Sweden and Britain that are meant to overcome an impasse in peacemaking but which have angered Israel.

Palestinians seek statehood in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as their capital – lands captured by Israel in a 1967 war, although Israeli soldiers and settlers withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Nov 4, 2014

France, Lebanon sign Saudi-funded arms deal worth $3 bln

PARIS, Nov 4 (Reuters) – France and Lebanon signed on
Tuesday a Saudi-funded deal worth $3 billion to provide French
weapons and military equipment to the Lebanese army to help it
fight jihadis encroaching from neighbouring Syria.

The Lebanese army, one of the few institutions not overtaken
by the sectarian divisions that plague the tiny country, has few
resources to deal with the instability on its border and has
been seeking to modernise its military hardware.