TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday painted an optimistic picture of ongoing negotiations with world powers over his country's nuclear program, saying there has been progress in the talks and that a final accord is possible.
"At this round of talks, shared views emerged on some points where there had been differences of opinion, which can be the basis for a final agreement," the official IRNA news agency and the presidential website quoted Rouhani as saying. "However, some differences still remain."
"I believe achieving a deal is possible. There is nothing that can't be resolved. The other party to the talks also has to make a final decision," he was quoted as saying.
The United States and Iran broke off nuclear negotiations ahead of schedule Friday, setting up make-or-break talks in the coming week for a deal providing long-term assurance to the world that the Iranians cannot develop nuclear weapons.
Top Russian negotiator Sergey Ryabkov and other officials have told The Associated Press that the United States and Iran are drafting elements of a deal that commits the Iranians to a 40 percent cut in the number of machines they could use to make an atomic bomb. In return, Iran would get quick relief from some crippling economic sanctions and a partial lift of a U.N. embargo on conventional arms.
Iran and the six-nation group of global powers — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — hope to reach a rough deal by the end of March and a final agreement by June 30. Iran has called for a single-stage final accord, rather than a two-stage agreement.
Rouhani said every party will have to make compromises.
"This is natural that no party can achieve full satisfaction at the talks. Both sides should consider their red lines. A rough agreement is easy but work gets very difficult and complicated when we discuss details and we see that plenty of complications and problems emerge," IRNA quoted Rouhani as telling reporters Saturday.