11/08/2013, 00.00
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Kerry: still no agreement in Geneva on Iran's nuclear programme

For the Secretary of State, some things "are unresolved" but there is hope to "narrow the differences". The outline of an agreement is expected at the next meeting. People in Iran are praying for the success of negotiations.

Geneva (AsiaNews/Agency) - "There are still some things on the table that are unresolved. I want to emphasise there is not an agreement at this point," US Secretary of State John Kerry said; however, we "hope to try to narrow the differences."

Kerry arrived in Geneva in the early afternoon for an unscheduled meeting with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

His unplanned visit comes after he met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who reiterated his country's opposition to lifting sanctions against Tehran.

The second round of nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) opened yesterday with some cautious optimism, especially after Zarif said that an agreement was possible.

At present, talks have not yet ended, but according to sources close to the Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, a draft is ready to be discussed at the next meeting.

In the past, Iran held out the possibility of reaching a compromise on its nuclear programme, including cuts to its plan to enrich uranium to 20 per cent, but only on the condition that the world recognises its right to pursue its programme. In recent years, Tehran has insisted that its aims are medical and energy related, not military.

Despite conservative opposition, Friday prayer leaders across Iran have urged the public to support the nuclear negotiating team.

"The Islamic Iran under the leadership of the eminent leader supports talks with Westerners, but from a position of strength and with dignity" Hojatoleslam Seyyed Mohammad Saidi said in Qom according to state news agency IRNA.

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