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Iran says it has a preliminary deal in nuclear talks

GENEVA – Iran’s nuclear envoy in Geneva said Friday that an initial agreement has been reached on implementing a nuclear deal with six world powers.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, in comments to the official IRNA news agency, said world powers and the Iranian government should respond within two days about whether they accept the terms.

An official from a member country of the United Nations nuclear agency who is closely following the talks confirmed a preliminary agreement was reached Friday evening. He demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the closed negotiations.

While not a final deal, it maps out a first-step agreement for six months as diplomats negotiate a final agreement.

Iran insists it has no interest in nuclear weapons only nuclear power but the United States and its allies are skeptical.

Limiting uranium enrichment is one of the core aims of the six-month interim deal meant to prepare ground for a permanent accord on Iran’s nuclear program. Enriched uranium, depending on its grade, can be used either for reactor fuel or – at levels above 90 percent – for the fissile core of a nuclear warhead.

The details of the initial agreement were not clear. But two officials have told The Associated Press that Iran was coming to the table with demands to exempt a facility used for research and the development of uranium enrichment from the overall curbs on its enrichment.

That is something opposed by the six powers which sealed the Nov. 24 deal with Tehran.

Associated Press writer George Jahn in Vienna contributed to this report.

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