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Iran’s president demands end to Western sanctions

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Western countries should end their sanctions against Iran in order to expedite talks aimed at allaying fears about the country’s nuclear programmes, said Iranian President Hassan Rowhani Saturday during a speech celebrating the Persian New Year.

“Our policies are ones of ending tensions and building up cooperation,” said Rowhani as he offered a new era.

The nuclear talks are set to resume Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Iran and a group of six world powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – aim to agree on the outlines of a deal by the end of March. A detailed agreement would then be reached by the end of June.

The deal would place strict long-term limits on Iran’s civilian nuclear programme, making it harder for Iran to use nuclear materials to make nuclear weapons. International sanctions would be lifted in return.

While the United States is prepared to quickly waive parts of its bilateral economic sanctions, there is little appetite to immediately lift the UN Security Council sanctions banning nuclear-related exports to Iran, US officials say.

The foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and the United States are set to meet Saturday in London to discuss the progress of the talks. SAPA

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