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Kerry shakes hands with Sheikh Abdullah (R) at the
foreign ministry in Abu Dhabi.

Iran nuclear deal possible within months: Kerry

Abu Dhabi, November 11, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday he hoped a deal ending a dispute on Iran's nuclear programme would be completed within months, even as French foreign minister Laurent Fabius  also said he was hopeful a deal could be reached with Iran.

Speaking at a news conference with United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan in Abu Dhabi, Kerry said Washington was not engaged in a race to complete talks with Iran on its nuclear programme and vowed to defend its regional allies against any threats.

"This is not a race to complete just any agreement," Kerry said, adding: "Through diplomacy we have an absolute responsibility to pursue an agreement."

Marathon talks between six major world powers - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, Germany and France - and Iran on Saturday ended without agreement and the sides arranged to meet again on November 20.

"We will stand up for and defend our allies in this region against any kind of external threat, so this is a strong strategic relationship and I look forward to continuing our important dialogue ... and to strengthening the relationship," Kerry said.

Meanwhile, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius also said he was hopeful a deal could be reached with Iran over its nuclear programme, although Tehran still had to make an effort on a few points.

"We are not far from an agreement with the Iranians, but we are not there yet," Fabius told Europe 1 radio.

Some diplomats accused France of grandstanding during talks in Geneva at the weekend, something Fabius denied, saying Paris was not isolated but had an independent foreign policy.

"We are firm, but not rigid. We want peace, and we want to reach the end," he said.

Fabius again said Iran must suspend construction of its Arak heavy-water reactor and halt uranium enrichment to a concentration of 20 percent to win an easing of international sanctions that are strangling its economy, a long-held position by Paris.

He declined to go into specific details on what was holding a deal back.

"I am hopeful we will reach a good deal. We want an accord that ensures regional and international stability." Fabius said. "If we don't reach an accord it would be a considerable problem in a few months." -Reuters

Tags: Iran | France | nuclear deal | Kerry |


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