Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani reportedly expressed optimism on Saturday that his country will be able to reach a deal in nuclear talks with the West.
Although Rouhani indicated differences remain in the negotiations, he said he was confident deal can be done.
“I believe an agreement is possible. There is nothing that cannot be resolved and the other party must make its final decision for this,” Rouhani said in comments reported by Iran’s official IRNA news agency.
The talks are aimed at reaching an agreement with Iran that would end a more than decade long standoff over the country’s nuclear ambitions. There is a March 31 deadline for the negotiations, which are being conducted in Switzerland and include Iran, the US, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, and France.
A deal would limit Iran’s nuclear program and could lead to an end to sanctions against the country. Iran has insisted it wants to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and does not want to build nuclear weapons.
Rouhani’s comments come after diplomats paused the talks for several days and departed the Beau Rivage Hotel in Lausanne Switzerland, where the negotiations were taking place. The break has been attributed to the death of Rouhani’s mother. Her funeral is taking place in Iran on Sunday and will be attended by many high-level officials.
“We’re pushing through some tough issues, but we’re making progress,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters before leaving the hotel.
Kerry will use the break in negotiations to travel to London where he will discuss the negotiations with German, French, and British officials.
Here in the US, the talks have proved controversial. Republican lawmakers have pushed legislation that would require any deal to be approved by Congress. Earlier this month, 46 GOP senators sent an open letter to Iranian officials warning them the next president could “revoke any agreement” made between Tehran and the administration of President Barack Obama.
Some of the domestic pressure on the talks was relieved when Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed to delay any vote on the Iran deal legislation until next month. The White House has said Obama would veto any legislation requiring congressional approval for a nuclear agreement with Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also been a vocal opponent of the nuclear talks. In a speech before Congress earlier this month, he said the negotiations were “a bad deal” that would leave Iran with a “short breakout time to a bomb.”
“Iran’s regime is as radical as ever,” Netanyahu said. “Its cries of death to America — the same America is decries as the great Satan — as loud as ever.”
Obama responded to Netanyahu’s speech, which was arranged by Republicans, by saying it didn’t offer any “viable alternatives” to the talks.
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