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Rouhani Plays Up Prospects for Quick End to Nuclear Standoff

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a Thursday press conference in Shanghai, where he said Tehran can "likely" resolve a nuclear standoff with other countries by July. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a Thursday press conference in Shanghai, where he said Tehran can "likely" resolve a nuclear standoff with other countries by July. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his nation can "likely" resolve a nuclear dispute with other powers by a July deadline, the Associated Press reports.

Signals observed "in the past few days" offer grounds for optimism, Reuters quoted Rouhani as saying on Thursday.

"We still have time. We can achieve this. We can even do it by the deadline," the Iranian leader told reporters, referencing the July 20 expiration date of a short-term atomic deal his nation reached with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Rouhani's remarks came days after one of his senior negotiators reported "no progress" from a meeting with six governments seeking to limit Iranian atomic efforts capable of supporting bomb development. Tehran says its nuclear program is peaceful, but has offered to restrict the endeavor in return for sanctions relief.

"It is very likely that we can come to an agreement by the end of July," Rouhani said.

Still, he left open the possibility of extending talks with the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany, AP reported.

"We're not in a hurry to reach an agreement, but if there is goodwill in the [P-5+1] countries and enough efforts, in my view there is enough time for conclusion," he said.

Rouhani said the dialogue's outcome would depend on preventing state participants from causing "problems."

An Iranian lawmaker said Western powers have created several "intense disagreements," in part by seeking terms that would only grant Iran full relief from economic penalties after a decade under a comprehensive deal, al-Monitor reported on Thursday.

Iran wants immediate relief from all punitive measures, said Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini, spokesman for the legislature's national security and foreign policy committee.

The sides also remain split over "who would determine Iran's [uranium-enrichment] needs," the politician told Iran's Tasnim News Agency.

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