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Iran says nuclear talks could go beyond June 30 deadline

Update: May, 28/2015 - 10:52

TEHRAN — Talks between Iran and world powers aimed at finalising a deal over Tehran's nuclear programme could go beyond a June 30 deadline, a senior Iranian negotiator said on Wednesday.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet in Switzerland this weekend as part of a push to seal the deal, US officials said.

With the issue of access to military sites emerging as a potential deal-breaker, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the work of his nuclear negotiators after they came under heavy criticism from conservatives in parliament.

Iran and world powers signed a framework accord on April 2 and aim to agree a final deal by the end of June to prevent Iran from developing an atomic bomb, in exchange for an easing of crippling economic sanctions.

But Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi, quoted by state news agency IRNA, said the two sides were "not bound by the schedule".

He added: "We are not at the point where we can say that negotiations will be completed quickly – they will continue until the deadline and could continue beyond that."

Araghchi has been attending a fresh round of talks between Iranian representatives and officials from the P5+1 group – Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany – which began in Vienna on Tuesday. — AFP

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