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Mar 25, 12:53 PM EDT

Iran says progress has been made as nuclear talks resume



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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's atomic energy chief said good progress has been made in nuclear negotiations with world powers, as a critical round of talks begins, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Ali-Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, is heading to Lausanne, Switzerland as part of a negotiating team led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The negotiators are working to meet a self-imposed deadline for a preliminary agreement by the end of March. The talks are focused on an agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of harsh international economic sanctions.

IRNA quoted Salehi as saying that Tehran is seeking a win-win agreement, while Zarif has stated that a full lifting of all sanctions is a red-line condition for any deal.

"We have had good negotiations and now have reached a stage that needs a serious decision and we hope that the other side can make the proper decision," Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-e Ravanchi said on Wednesday. "We hope to be able to obtain results. Of course this depends on the other side which should accept the realities."

Iran and the so-called P5+1 - the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - hope to reach a rough deal on the nuclear program by the end of March and a final agreement by June 30.

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