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EU: New round of nuclear talks with Iran to start this week

The next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the six world powers will be held this week, said the European Commission. Meanwhile, Iran's chief negotiator said that extra time might be needed to reach an accord.

The new round of talks will begin after a meeting between Iran's nuclear negotiators and a senior European Union official on Wednesday, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

"EU Political Director Helga Schmid and her Iranian counterparts - deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araghchi and Madjid Takht Ravanchi - will meet again, beginning as of Wednesday, June 17 in Vienna," the Commission said in a statement.

Iran and six global powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – reached a draft deal on Tehran's controversial nuclear program on April 2 in Lausanne. A full agreement is expected by June 30.

A potential deal would lift the Western sanctions on Iran and place long-term limits on Iran's civilian nuclear program, making it difficult for the Islamic country to make nuclear weapons.

Iran denies allegations from the West that it has the capabilities to produce nuclear weapons.

More time needed

Abbas Araghchi, deputy foreign minister and a member of Iran's negotiating team, said Tuesday that an additional time might be required to settle the dispute.

"The date… was selected for the end of negotiations but we will not sacrifice a good agreement for the sake of schedule," Araghchi was quoted as saying by Iran's state television.

"If we need a few extra days, it is not important because there are no sacred dates," he added.

US officials have hinted that the process of reaching a final agreement could be complicated. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani criticized the world powers on Saturday, saying that if "they choose the path of haggling then it can prolong the negotiations."

Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said on Tuesday that if Tehran cheats on a final nuclear agreement, the US could impose back sanctions on the country.

shs/bw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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