Iran wants end of all sanctions for nuke deal
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Iran’s foreign minister said Wednesday his nation would not sign a deal over its nuclear arms research, unless all sanctions on Tehran were removed.
 
“This is the position that government has insisted on from the start,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told IRNA, Iran’s official news agency.
 
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Zarif’s remarks come as negotiations resume Thursday. The U.S. leads a coalition including Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia on its side of the bargaining table.
 
The Obama administration hopes Iran will slow or stop its production of nuclear materials in exchange for reducing sanctions. The West has long used economic pressure on Iran to prevent its acquisition of atomic bombs.
 
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, on Saturday said the nuclear talks were “fraudulent” unless sanctions ended. 
 
Reuters reported Wednesday that a senior European negotiator characterized the ending of all sanctions as “out of the question” last week.
 
At issue is how much the West should penalize Iran’s economy for attempting nuclear armament.
 
President Obama and French President François Hollande disagreed in a phone call on the matter Friday, with the foreign leader supporting at most a “symbolic easing” of sanctions in any potential deal.
 
Reports emerged Monday that Israel had also entered the fray by spying on the negotiations. Jerusalem reportedly shared information on the talks with U.S. lawmakers in an attempt to sway the final outcome.
 
President Obama on Saturday said Iran has not yet made enough concessions for a deal. He added that a final deal was still possible, but that “we’ve still got some more to do.”
 
Some in Congress are skeptical Iran will keep its end of any potential bargain. A group of 47 Republican senators warned Khamenei in an open letter sent earlier this month that Congress could void any deal it found unsatisfactory.
 
The West hopes to reach a tentative deal with Iran by a self-imposed March 31 deadline.