US, Iran in new nuclear talks as tempers fray

LAUSANNE: Iran and the US aim in talks starting Sunday in Switzerland to begin closing in on a milestone deal reducing Tehran s nuclear activities to within strict limits after 18 months of tortuous negotiations.
Time is however running very short and tempers are fraying in Washington where critics fear that the mooted accord will not do enough to prevent the Islamic Republic getting the bomb.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, due to meet his Iranian counterpart in Lausanne, sought to allay such concerns on the eve of talks, saying the aim was “not just to get any deal, it is to get the right deal”.
The target is for Iran and six world powers the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany to agree the outlines of a deal by March 31 and to fine-tune the details by July 1.
Kerry said he hoped an interim agreement could be clinched in the coming days. “My hope is that in the next days that will be possible,” Kerry told CBS television. Iran s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has however criticised the two-step process, saying matters should be handled in one fell swoop.
Khamenei is due to give a closely watched Iranian New Year s address on March 21. On Thursday he said the other side in the talks was “deceitful and stabs in the back”.