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Iran minister says nuclear deal likely if partners serious

16 may 2015, 11:25

 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced optimism about reaching a nuclear deal with world powers in comments published Friday by German newsweekly Der Spiegel, AFP reports.

"A deal is totally probable, provided that we have serious negotiating partners," he was quoted as saying in pre-released excerpts from an article to be published in Saturday's edition.

In the interview he also said that "unfortunately there has been a barrage of insulting comments coming from Saudi Arabia," and that "we see some people panicking in this region."

Arab and largely Sunni Muslim states of the Gulf fear a nuclear deal could be a harbinger of closer US ties with their Persian and Shiite arch-foe Iran, a country they also see as fuelling conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

Zarif sought to dispell fears about Iran seeking more regional influence, saying: "We don't want to dominate this region... We are a country that is content with its size, content with its geography."

The United States as well as Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany are in the midst of negotiations with Tehran to finalise a deal by June 30 that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, in exchange for an easing of crippling economic sanctions.

US President Barack Obama tried to reassure America's Gulf allies at a Camp David summit Thursday that engaging with Iran would not come at their expense.

Iran has long asserted its nuclear programme is for peaceful energy purposes, and that international concern about it seeking a nuclear bomb is misplaced.

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