Iranian go-slow dims deal chances at Vienna

World powers will seek to finalise an agreement with Iran next week on processing its uranium abroad to help allay Western fears it is developing nuclear weapons.

But Iran has dampened Western expectations it is ready to seal the deal. “Time is on our side,” a senior Iranian official said. Tehran would send junior officials rather than its nuclear energy chief to the talks starting on Monday in Vienna, he said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency was ready for up to three days of talks on its premises but no one knew how long they would run, a diplomat close to the U.N. watchdog said.

Iran won itself a reprieve from the threat of harsher U.N. sanctions by engaging six powers in rare high-level talks on Oct. 1 in Geneva that opened the door to detente over its disputed nuclear programme after a seven-year standoff.


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