Iran, U.S. allies strike agreement on nuclear deal

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Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, walks through a courtyard at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel during an extended round of talks, Wednesday, April 1, 2015 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, walks through a courtyard at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel during an extended round of talks, Wednesday, April 1, 2015 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

By Guy Taylor - 
The U.S., Iran and other world powers have agreed on the basic outline for a final nuclear deal to be hammered out by the end of June, but they are still debating how much of it to make public, said officials participating in the marathon talks in Switzerland.

In Washington, officials said announcements about the outline are forthcoming, with Secretary of State John F. Kerry along with diplomats from Iran and the European Union expected to speak Thursday at a news conference in the Swiss town of Lausanne.

As news of the agreement broke, President Obama delayed his departure from the White House for a trip to Louisville, Kentucky, to speak on the economy.

However, details of the deal remain scarce.

Reuters cited an anonymous Western official as saying it would include limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment activities for 10 years.

Germany’s foreign ministry said on Twitter: “Agreement on framework for final agreement reached. Press conference following.”

Iran’s foreign minister tweeted: “Found solutions, ready to start drafting immediately.”

But it was not immediately clear whether Thursday’s announcements would include specifics on a schedule for relieving international sanctions on Tehran.

As the talks came down to the wire this week, the sanctions relief issue is said to have driven a wedge between negotiators from the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia, Germany and Iran.

Officials told The Associated Press on Thursday that the outline would open the path to a final phase of nuclear negotiations but that there are disagreements about what to make public, suggesting that there may still be disputes on the sanctions issue.

The Obama administration and its allies reportedly have pushed for a “phased relief,” but Iran wants all sanctions lifted from the start. Washington, Paris and Berlin are also said to favor a deal that could allow U.N. sanctions on Iran’s economy and military to be automatically reimposed if Tehran obstructs international weapons inspectors or violates any other terms of the deal.

Iran’s state-run media has reported that Russia and China are believed to disagree with those terms, instead favoring a scenario in which the U.N. Security Council would have to vote on appropriate punishments if Tehran is caught cheating.

The talks have been at a make-or-break point this week after blowing through a March 31 deadline for an outline toward a final nuclear deal.

The Obama administration has made an aggressive push over the past 15 months for a deal that could prevent a military confrontation with Iran over its disputed nuclear program.

Iran insists the program is peaceful, but Washington and its allies for more than a decade have accused Tehran of running a clandestine nuclear weapons development operation.