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Final nuclear deal possible within six months

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Iran's foreign minister said Monday that he believed a final deal with world powers over Tehran's contested nuclear programme was possible within six months.

Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comment in an address to a political think tank in Berlin, a day after pledging good faith in the next round of talks later this month aimed at dispelling Western fears.

He noted that under an interim accord between Iran and the so-called P5+1 -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- which took effect last month, a 12-month deadline had been set for implementing the final agreement.

"But I believe we can do it by July 20th, that's the first six months, and I believe we should do it, and I believe it's possible to do it," Zarif told the German Council on Foreign Relations.

World powers hold another round of talks with Iran on February 18 after reaching the initial accord in November to curb uranium enrichment and open up nuclear facilities to allay concerns that Tehran is seeking to acquire atomic weapons.

Zarif told the Munich Security Conference on Sunday after a rare meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry that Iran would enter those talks "with political will and good faith to reach an agreement".

"Not only do we see nuclear weapons as not augmenting our security, but even the perception that we pursue nuclear weapons is a danger to our security," he said in Berlin on Monday.

And he added that Iran would never initiate a conflict and sought regional stability. "We will never start a war against anyone," he said.

Tehran has always insisted its nuclear programme is for peaceful ends only.

But the West, unconvinced and worried by signs of possible atomic weapons development, imposed ever tighter sanctions hoping to prevent Iran from getting to a "break-out" point.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140203/final-nuclear-deal-possible-within-six-months