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Iran's Khamenei renews support for nuclear talks

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated Wednesday his support for ongoing nuclear talks with world powers, while insisting that Tehran's atomic programme would carry on. He spoke as negotiators for Iran and the so-called P5+1 group started a second day of talks in Vienna aimed at hammering out a final deal over Tehran's contested nuclear programme by a July 20 deadline.

White House says has told Tehran U.N. ambassador choice 'not viable'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House made clear on Tuesday that it did not welcome Iran's choice of Hamid Abutalebi as its new United Nations ambassador, saying officials had told Tehran that the selection was "not viable." But White House spokesman Jay Carney stopped short of saying Abutalebi would be barred from entering the United States because of his alleged role in the 1979-1981 hostage crisis, during which radical Iranian students held U.S. Embassy staff for 444 days.

White House says has told Iran U.N. ambassador choice 'not viable'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House made clear on Tuesday that it did not welcome Iran's choice of Hamid Abutalebi as its new United Nations ambassador, saying officials had told Tehran that the selection was "not viable." But White House spokesman Jay Carney stopped short of saying Abutalebi would be barred from entering the United States because of his alleged role in the 1979-1981 hostage crisis, during which radical Iranian students held U.S. Embassy staff for 444 days.

Iran nuclear 'breakout' time at two months

Iran is two months away from breakout capability to produce enough nuclear material for a bomb should they resume their mothballed enrichment process, Secretary of State John Kerry warned Tuesday. Tehran is in the thick of international negotiations over its nuclear program, with a fresh round of talks beginning on Tuesday in Vienna aimed at starting a draft of an historic final deal. Under a temporary deal which took effect January 20, Iran froze certain nuclear activities for six months in exchange for minor relief from sanctions hurting its economy.

Iran, world powers try to move nuclear talks up a gear

Iran and world powers held a new round of nuclear talks Tuesday hoping to move to the next level and start drafting a historic but highly ambitious final deal next month. Threatening to drive a wedge between the powers, however, is the crisis over Ukraine, which has led to the biggest standoff between Russia and the West since the Cold War. Iran and the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany want to transform a temporary accord struck in November into a permanent agreement before it lapses on July 20.

Iran, world powers seek to intensify nuclear talks

Iran and world powers kicked off a new round of nuclear talks Tuesday hoping to make enough progress to move up a gear and start drafting a historic final deal next month. Threatening to drive a wedge between the powers, however, is the crisis surrounding Ukraine, which has led to the biggest standoff between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War. Iran and the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany want to transform a deal struck in November into a permanent agreement by the time this temporary accord lapses on July 20.

Senate votes to bar proposed Iran U.N. ambassador from country

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Monday seeking to bar Iran's proposed U.N. Ambassador, Hamid Abutalebi, from entering the United States. The legislation, introduced by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, would prevent "known terrorists" from entering the United States to serve as U.N. Ambassadors. The Senate passed the measure by voice vote.

U.S. senators press for hard line over reported Iran-Russia deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. senators who led a push for more sanctions on Iran during negotiations over its nuclear program called on President Barack Obama on Monday to impose more restrictions if Tehran pursues an energy barter agreement with Russia. Reuters reported last week that Tehran and Moscow had made progress toward an oil-for-goods deal that sources said could be worth $20 billion and enable Iran to boost vital energy exports in defiance of Western sanctions.

Iran hopes nuclear talks will pave way for drafting of deal

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran hopes enough progress will be made at talks with major powers this week to let negotiators start drafting an accord to settle a dispute over its nuclear program, a top Iranian negotiator was quoted as saying by official media. The Islamic Republic and six world powers will hold a fresh round of talks in Vienna on Tuesday and Wednesday intended to reach a comprehensive agreement by July 20 on how to resolve a decade-old standoff that has stirred fears of a Middle East war.

Iran aims to move ahead to drafting nuclear deal

Iran said Monday it aims at talks with world powers this week to wind up the negotiating phase and move on to drafting a final accord on its nuclear programme. "We will try to finish the discussions in this round and start writing the draft of the comprehensive agreement from the Iranian month of Ordibehesht," which starts April 21, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by state-run television upon arrival in Vienna for the Tuesday-Wednesday talks.
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