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Kerry: Progress in Iran talks, but significant gaps remain

US Secretary of State John Kerry has wrapped up three days of talks with his Iranian counterpart. He said any final deal to curb Tehran's nuclear program would have to withstand global scrutiny.

Speaking to reporters following three days of talks with Iranian foreign minister Mohamad Javad Zarif in the Swiss town of Montreux on Wednesday, Kerry said any final deal with Iran would include intrusive access and verification measures.

"The purpose is not to get any deal, it's to get the right deal, one that can withstand scrutiny," he said.

Kerry added that significant gaps and important choices remained in the talks, and said he would not be distracted from them by

external factors or politics.

"No one has presented a more viable lasting alternative for how you actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon," he said, a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a speech to the US Congress in which

he slammed the proposed deal.

The so-called P5+1 talks between Iran and the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany had led to an interim agreement in November 2013 for Iran to pull back its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief. The parties agreed a target for an outline of the deal by the end of March, given that the deadline for reaching a final agreement is June 30.

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, but there are international concerns that Tehran is attempting to establish itself as a nuclear power.

se/lw (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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