VIENNA, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Iran still believes a comprehensive nuclear deal could be reached by July 20, said its Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday, stressing enough headway was made.
Zarif told reporters that Iran is ready to address all the concerns on its nuclear program, and his negotiation team would continue their work to bridge gaps remain in the talks in the last few days.
He said the deadline of the talks should be till November, but Iran want to settle the issue earlier, and still believed the deal could still be reached by July 20, but "Iran's choice" of the path forward should be respected.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier told a press conference that there is a "path forward" and Iran needs to choose to take it.
Under the interim deal agreed in Geneva last November, Iran agreed to suspend some sensitive nuclear activities in exchange of limited sanction relief in a duration of six months to buy time for the diplomatic effort.
"We have made enough headway to be able to tell our political bosses back home, all of us, this political process would continue," Zarif said.
Kerry said he would consult with President Barack Obama and Congress over the coming days about the prospects for a comprehensive agreement, as well as a path forward in case of failure to reach a deal by the 20th of July, including the question of whether or not more time is warranted, based on the progress made and how things are going.
The talks have made some progress on some key issues, but there are big differences on other key issues, especially on Iran's uranium enrichment capacity.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last Tuesday that Iran needs 190,000 separative work units (SWUs) for uranium enrichment,(around the 190,000 to 237,500 output capacity of IR-1 Iranian centrifuges), which Kerry said were hard to accept for the U.S. side.
However, the Iranian chief negotiator said it doesn't make sense to show too much concern on the number of Iran's centrifuges, stressing that its nuclear program is only for civilian purpose.
Zarif said that Iran is ready to address all the concerns over its nuclear program, and would insist on having a transparent and international monitored atomic plan to show its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.
Iran currently has installed 19,000 centrifuges, of which 10,190 are operating. Most of the centrifuges Iran owns are IR-1, an old model centrifuge, and Iran has also installed around 1,000 IR-2M centrifuges, which are assessed to be three to five times more efficient than IR-1 centrifuges.
The West wants Iran to significantly scale back its nuclear program to address its concern of proliferation risk, while Iran insists its nuclear right is inalienable.
Zarif said in an interview with New York Times on Monday that Iran could accept a deal that essentially freezes its capacity to produce nuclear fuel at current levels for several years, provided it is then treated like any other nation with a peaceful nuclear program, indicating Iran is showing more flexibility as the negotiation approaching the deadline.