DUBAI Oct 14 Iranian Foreign Minister and chief
nuclear negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced hope Tehran and
world powers can agree in talks this week on a road map towards
resolving their nuclear stand-off, but warned the process would
The negotiations about Iran's nuclear programme, to start in
Geneva on Tuesday, will be the first since the election of
President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate who wants to thaw
Iran's icy relations with the West to get harsh economic
"Tomorrow is the start of a difficult and relatively
time-consuming way forward. I am hopeful that by Wednesday we
can reach agreement on a road map to find a path towards
resolution," Zarif said in a message posted on his Facebook
account late on Sunday.
"But even with the goodwill of the other side, to reach
agreement on details and start implementation will likely
require another meeting at ministerial level."
Western nations believe Iran's uranium enrichment programme
is an attempt to achieve a nuclear weapons capability, a charge
Tehran denies, saying it only wants the master the technology to
generate electricity and carry out medical research.
Rouhani's election in June to succeed conservative hardliner
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has raised hopes of a negotiated solution to
a decade-old dispute over the programme that could otherwise
trigger a new war in the volatile Middle East.
Zarif's deputy, Abbas Araqchi, on Sunday rebuffed the West's
demand that Iran send sensitive nuclear material out of the
country but signalled flexibility on other aspects of its atomic
activities that worry world powers.
Middle East analyst Cliff Kupchan of risk consultancy
Eurasia group in an analysis: "We continue to believe that while
there is a significant chance of a deal by the end of the second
quarter of 2014, an agreement on balance remains improbable.
"Iran will likely offer a new proposal in which it sets out
a roadmap, possibly including concessions on medium-enriched
uranium in return for sanctions relief," he said. "The U.S. will
agree to study the proposal but probably insist on more severe
near-term constraints on Iran's nuclear programme."