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No N-deal, yet much accomplished

world Updated: Nov 11, 2013 23:44 IST
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Diplomats insisted they are closing in on an agreement to curb Iran's nuclear programme despite the failure to clinch a long-sought deal in marathon negotiations in Geneva.

As Tehran said it would not abandon its "right" to enrichment, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would do all it could to keep the so-called P5+1 group of world powers from striking a "bad and dangerous" deal.

American Secretary of State John Kerry defended US negotiations with Iran, saying Washington is "not blind" and is keeping Israel's best interests at heart, ahead of a visit by UN nuclear chief Yukiya Amano to Tehran on Monday.

Hopes for a deal had soared after top diplomats rushed to Geneva to join the talks, but faded again as cracks began to appear among world powers when France raised concerns over a heavy water reactor being built at Arak. The talks ended in the early hours of Sunday.

But diplomats on Sunday insisted they were zeroing in on an agreement to lift some of the crippling sanctions on Iranin return for the freezing of much of its nuclear programme, and planned to meet again from November 20.

The pause in talks has given a window of opportunity for opponents, particularly Israel, to derail the deal. Israel sees Iran's nuclear programme as a threat to its existence.

The short-term deal would have reportedly frozen or curbed some of Iran's nuclear activities, which Israel and the West suspect are aimed at developing the ability to build a nuclear weapon.

Tehran-IAEA pact
Iran will grant UN inspectors "managed access" to a uranium mine and a heavy water plant within three months as part of a cooperation pact reached on Monday aimed at allaying international concern about Tehran's nuclear programme.

It was signed by IAEA chief Yukiya Amano in Tehran after Iran and six world powers failed in weekend talks in Geneva to clinch a broader diplomatic deal to end a decade-old deadlock over Iran's atomic activity.

Meanwhile, Iran and Britain named non-resident charges d'affaires to each other's capital, in moves aimed at restoring diplomatic ties severed after the British embassy was ransacked in 2011.