Administration officials have beaten a path to Capitol Hill in recent weeks, warning Congress against short-circuiting the delicate negotiations.Now that the talks have borne fruit in the form of an interim accord on Tehran’s nuclear program, officials are again encouraging a go-slow approach by lawmakers to allow the parties to reach a final deal.But the public and private lobbying has not deterred many in Congress who are determined to tighten the noose on Iran’s oil sector and industries like mining, construction and engineering.They say sanctions are what brought Tehran to the negotiating table, and escalating the penalties is the only effective mechanism to push Tehran toward a comprehensive agreement.Iran and the P5+1 group — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany — reached a landmark deal in Geneva on November 24 on the Islamic republic’s disputed nuclear drive that the West suspects has military dimensions, despite Tehran’s denial.But even as the six-month Geneva agreement provides for partial suspension of existing sanctions, a bipartisan group of senators led by Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat, and Republican Senator Mark Kirk were set to unveil a sanctions bill.View galleryThe heavy water plant in Arak, 320 km south of Tehran, on August 26, 2006 (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)The text would serve as a stick of sorts „if the regime cheats on the interim deal or tries to drag out negotiations on a final deal,” said one Senate aide involved in the sanctions discussions.”The senators remain hopeful a deal can be reached this week in time to put something on the president’s desk by Christmas.”The timing or legislative vehicle for the text depend on a decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who last month expressed support for introducing new sanctions legislation but hasn’t said whether he will allow a vote next week.Another Senate aide said that at the end of the interim period, a clause could allow Obama to briefly postpone implementation of the additional sanctions, provided that a final agreement proved to be imminent.”I think creating a sanctions regime that is an insurance policy and also creates leverage for us (in negotiations) is incredibly important,” Menendez told CBS television’s „Face the Nation.”The penalties, if imposed, could again lower the authorized ceiling of Iranian oil exports, currently about 1.2 million barrels per day, further strangling the regime’s economic lifeblood.View galleryIranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with US Secretary of State John Kerry dur …The six countries still importing Iranian oil — and currently exempt from US sanctions — could face penalties if they do not reduce import volumes within a specified period.Kerry due to testify in Congress-Congress has played „bad cop” for years against the diplomatic efforts by Obama, who has had little sway on lawmakers on Iran.Highlighting the eagerness for congressional action, the House of Representatives passed tough Iran sanctions in July by a vote of 400-20. In the Senate, the three sanctions bills adopted since 2010 passed unanimously.Obama can veto any legislation, but if the new sanctions were included in a broader defense spending bill this month, as some expect, a veto would be playing with political fire.Hawks see Iran wanting to keep all players negotiating as long as possible to benefit from the easing of sanctions.”The longer they keep the P5+1 at the table, the more money they’ll generate, and the more money they’ll generate, the less negotiating leverage the P5+1 will have,” said Mark Dubowitz, an expert from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who supports tougher sanctions.Like the White House, the P5+1 group is watching Congress’s next moves closely.”For us it’s a parameter of course. By definition, we have very little influence on that,” a senior Western official told AFP.Senators return to Washington on Monday, for a decisive week.If the Democratic leadership opts against putting sanctions to a vote soon, sanction supporters could try to force their hand, for example through House legislation.In a final plea, Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before a House panel Tuesday in a bid to head off new punitive measures
Pearl Harbor ceremony marks bombing anniversary
par Alissa de Carbonnel et Pavel PolityukKIEV (Reuters) – Des centaines de milliers de manifestants étaient massés dimanche en milieu de journée sur la place de l’Indépendance à Kiev pour accentuer la pression sur le gouvernement ukrainien, qui cherche à se rapprocher de la Russie après avoir renoncé à un partenariat avec l’Union européenne.L’opposition au président Viktor Ianoukovitch espère rassembler un million de personnes dans ce lieu symbolique de la „révolution orange” en décembre 2004.Des manifestants ont affiché sur un arbre de Noël dominant le „village de tentes” installé sur la place un portrait de l’opposante emprisonnée Ioulia Timochenko, ancien Premier ministre et grande rivale du chef de l’Etat.”C’est un moment décisif, les Ukrainiens sont rassemblés ici parce qu’ils ne veulent pas vivre dans un pays où règne la corruption et où il n’y a pas de justice”, a lancé à la foule l’imposant Vitali Klitschko, ancien champion de boxe devenu l’une des figures de l’opposition.”Ce n’est pas la matraque d’un policier qui nous fera taire !”, a-t-il ajouté, appelant à la libération des prisonniers politiques, à la démission du Premier ministre Mikola Azarov et à l’organisation d’élections présidentielle et législatives anticipées.Ioulia Timochenko a adressé un message aux manifestants, qui a été lu par sa fille Evguenia.”Nous sommes sur le fil du rasoir, entre un plongeon définitif dans une dictature cruelle ou un retour dans la communauté européenne, c’est-à-dire chez nous”, dit-elle dans ce message.”Il y a beaucoup plus de risques de finir dans une dictature médiévale. Le choix est entre vos mains”, ajoute-t-elle, exhortant l’opposition à ne pas baisser les bras et à ne pas négocier avec la „bande” de Viktor Ianoukovitch.„L’EUROPE OU LE JOUG DE MOSCOU”-Le dirigeant d’extrême droite Oleh Tiahnibok a interrogé la foule. „Voulez-vous passer sous le joug de Moscou ?” „Non !”, ont répondu des centaines de milliers de voix. „Voulez-vous revenir en Europe ?” „Oui !”, a rugi la foule.Un peu plus tard, un groupe de manifestants s’est dirigé vers le siège du gouvernement, à un kilomètre de la place, et a commencé à dresser des barricades et à installer des tentes, apparemment dans le but de paralyser l’activité gouvernementale la semaine prochaine.”Tout le pays souffre avec un tel gouvernement”, a déclaré une étudiante de 20 ans venue en train de Poltava, à 300 km de la capitale. „Si Ianoukovitch reste au pouvoir, nous finirons comme les Biélorusses”, ajoute-t-elle, faisant allusion à la répression du mouvement d’opposition dans le pays voisin.”Nous voulons une Ukraine européenne”, dit Vasil Didoukh, 23 ans, venu comme de nombreux manifestants de l’ouest du pays, fief de Timochenko et d’autres dirigeants d’opposition, alors que l’est russophone de l’Ukraine est un bastion du Parti des régions de Ianoukovitch.Un allié de Timochenko, l’ancien ministre de l’Intérieur Youri Loutsenko, a appelé les russophones à rejoindre l’opposition. „Nous sommes le même peuple”, a-t-il dit.Dimanche dernier, 350.000 personnes avaient participé sur la place de l’Indépendance à un rassemblement de ce type, au lendemain d’une violente intervention de la police contre des manifestants et des journalistes, qui a suscité les critiques des pays occidentaux.Les forces de l’ordre ont menacé de faire évacuer par la force les bâtiments publics occupés par les opposants, notamment la mairie de Kiev.„NOUS SOUHAITONS LA RÉVOLUTION”-Ce face-à-face entre l’opposition et le gouvernement suscite des inquiétudes sur la stabilité politique et économique de l’Ukraine, ancienne république soviétique de 46 millions d’habitants, bordée par quatre Etats membres de l’UE et voie de transit du gaz russe vers l’Europe.Cette mobilisation intervient dans un climat d’incertitude entourant la position de Viktor Ianoukovitch. Ce dernier a rencontré vendredi Vladimir Poutine dans la station balnéaire de Sotchi sur la mer Noire et des rumeurs font état d’une possible adhésion à l’union douanière mise en place par le Kremlin et réunissant déjà la Biélorussie et le Kazakhstan.Moscou et Kiev ont tenté d’apaiser les inquiétudes en affirmant que la question d’une union douanière n’a même pas été abordée lors de la rencontre mais une réunion gouvernementale est prévue le 17 décembre.”Toute signature d’un accord visant à former une nouvelle Union soviétique signifierait une explosion du pays”, a estimé Arseni Iatseniouk, ancien ministre de l’Economie et dirigeant de l’opposition.Poutine considère que l’Ukraine est un pays stratégique pour les intérêts vitaux de la Russie. Les observateurs estiment que le président russe et son homologue ukrainien ont négocié un ralliement de l’Ukraine en échange d’approvisionnement en gaz à coût réduit et de possibles créances supplémentaires.Kiev se trouve dans une situation délicate de dépendance à l’égard de la Russie pour ses approvisionnements en gaz mais aussi en raison de sa dette à l’égard de Moscou.Les manifestants de la place de l’Indépendance affirment que leur lutte n’a rien à voir avec l’argent.”Nous souhaitons que notre pays accède au niveau des pays les plus avancés en Europe. Cela signifie une réelle démocratie et des droits identiques devant la loi”, explique Valentina Mysak, 58 ans.”Au fond de notre coeur, nous souhaitons la révolution”, lance Dennis Tcherniavski, un ouvrier agricole de 25 ans. „La question n’est plus de rejoindre l’Europe mais d’avoir un gouvernement à visage humain.”Avec Richard Balmforth et Natalia Zinets; Pierre Sérisier et Guy Kerivel pour le service français
At the Regina Mundi Church that was near the epicenter of the Soweto township uprising in 1976 against white rule, Father Sebastian J. Rossouw described Mandela as „moonlight,” saying he offered a guiding light for South Africa. Hundreds of people attended the Mass.”Madiba did not doubt the light,” Rossouw said. „He paved the way for a better future, but he cannot do it alone.”During the service, worshippers offered special prayers for the anti-apartheid leader and lit a candle in his honor in front of the altar. Off to the side of the sanctuary was a black and white photo of Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95.Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, joined one of his grandsons, Mandla Mandela, and South African President Jacob Zuma in a prayer service in a Methodist church in Johannesburg.”We felt it important that we should have a day where all of us as South Africans can come together and pray for our first democratic president and reflect on his legacy,” Zuma said. „But it is also to pray for our nation … to pray that we not forget some of the values he fought for.”View galleryWinnie Madikizela-Mandela, left, Nelson Mandela’s former wife, greets worshippers at the Bryanst …Zuma said Mandela had forgiven even those who had kept him in prison for 27 years, and that he had opposed both white and black domination.Inside a small, hilltop church behind Mandela’s property in the eastern village of Qunu, where he will be buried next Sunday, about 50 people held a raucous, celebratory service. A man in a blue robe set the tempo by banging on a goat-skin drum. Men, clapping, formed a tight huddle as mostly barefoot women danced on the cement floor in a circle around them.Joshua Mzingelwa, the leader of Morians Episcopal Apostolic Church, delivered a loud, throaty sermon.”There is still hope in the hardship that you are facing daily,” Mzingelwa told the congregation.In an affluent and predominantly white suburb of the capital Pretoria, parishioners prayed for Mandela at what was once a worship center for pro-apartheid government and business leaders. They prayed in silence as a picture of Mandela was beamed onto the wall above the church’s pulpit, the event starkly highlighting the enormous changes that have come to this country.View galleryMourners attend an early morning church service in memory of Nelson Mandela at the Regina Mundi chur …Pastor Niekie Lamprecht of the Dutch Reformed Church of Pretoria East said the congregation’s overwhelmingly white 1,600 parishioners have changed, and that Mandela himself was the driving force. The idea of showing a picture of him inside the church two decades ago would have been unthinkable.”What helped the white people of South Africa was Mr. Mandela’s attitude,” Lamprecht said. „He said, ‘Let’s forgive,’ and he forgave. That created a space for people to feel safe … at a time when the expectation was that there was going to be a war.”A service was also held at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, where a prayer was said for a man whose journey from prisoner to president inspired the world.”May his long walk to freedom be enjoyed and realized in our time by all of us,” worshippers said in a prayer.Ahmed Kathrada, who was sentenced to life in prison with Mandela in 1964, said he was informed shortly before Mandela’s death on Thursday night that his old friend was about to die.View galleryA mother and her children light candles during a church service in honour of Nelson Mandela in Johan …Kathrada said Graca Machel, Mandela’s wife, conveyed the message to him through another person that „the doctors have said, ‘Anytime.'”A national memorial service for the man who, as the country’s first black president forged a new multiracial, democratic South Africa, will be held at a Johannesburg stadium on Tuesday.Mandela’s body will lie in state at the Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria, from Wednesday to Friday, followed by his funeral and burial in Qunu next Sunday.Among those who have already indicated that they will be coming to South Africa are U.S. President Barack Obama and his two predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will also travel to Johannesburg for the memorial service.Other leaders and dignitaries who have confirmed that they are coming include French President Francois Hollande, Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff, Cyprus’ Parliamentary Speaker, Yiannakis Omirou, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.King Willem-Alexander and Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans will attend on behalf of the Netherlands.___Associated Press writers Alan Clendenning in Pretoria, Jason Straziuso in Qunu and Christopher Torchia in Cape Town contributed to this report.
Thai crisis deepens as opposition quits Parliament
Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut told The Associated Press his party could not participate in the legislature anymore because the body is „no longer accepted by the people.”The minority Democrats are closely aligned with anti-government protesters who have staged the country’s biggest rallies in years. The demonstrations began last month and are aimed at ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose government came to power in a landslide vote in 2011 that observers said was free and fair.The Democrats have not won an election since 1992, and some of their leaders appear to have given up on electoral politics because they cannot win. The protesters are demanding a non-elected people’s council lead the country instead.Thailand has been plagued by political turmoil since Yingluck’s brother Thaksin Shinawatra, a former premier, was toppled in a 2006 military coup. In broad terms, the confrontation pits the Thai elite and the educated middle-class against Thaksin’s power base in the countryside, which benefited from populist policies designed to win over the rural poor.At least five people have been killed and at least 289 injured since the latest unrest began. Several days of violence ended suddenly last week as both sides paused to celebrate the birthday of the nation’s revered king, who turned 86 Thursday. But protesters have vowed a final showdown Monday in Bangkok and will march en masse from a government complex they seized to Yingluck’s office.View galleryAnti-government protesters shout slogans at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Dec …”We will rise up. We will walk on every street in the country. We will not be going home again,” said protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who recently resigned from the Democrat party to lead the anti-government movement. „The people who will be going home empty-handed are those in the Thaksin regime.”Suthep called on supporters to keep the protests peaceful, but dozens of Thai and international schools in Bangkok announced they would be closed Monday amid concerns over the march.Democrat leader and former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva, who said he would also join the protests, said his party colleagues’ resignations from Parliament were effective immediately.Yingluck’s government has been „illegitimate” ever since her ruling party tried to ram through an amnesty bill that critics allege was mainly designed to bring back Thaksin from exile, Abhisit said. Thaksin lives in Dubai to avoid a jail sentence for a corruption conviction he says was politically motivated.”The solution to our current problems needs to start with the showing of responsibility,” Abhisit said. „The prime minister has never showed any responsibility or conscience.”View galleryAn anti-government protester chants at a rally at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunda …Abhisit also criticized Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party for trying to amend a clause in the constitution that would have transformed the Senate into a fully elected body. Currently about half its members are selected by a panel of judges and heads of independent state agencies. The Constitutional Court sharply scolded Yingluck’s party for the move.The Democrats held 153 of the 500 seats in the lower house, according to the latest figures on their website.In a speech Sunday, Yingluck said again that she was not trying to cling to power and would be „happy to resign” and dissolve Parliament if that could ease the crisis. But she said those things could only happen if new elections are organized within 60 days and all parties accept the outcome.Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who recently resigned from the Democrat party to lead the protests, has repeatedly rejected those initiatives and refused to negotiate.Yingluck also reiterated an offer to set up a national forum to find a way out of the crisis. She said if there was still no resolution, a national referendum could be held, but she did not specify on what.Any „government that comes to power without elections would significantly affect our image and confidence in the country,” Yingluck said, referring to Suthep’s demand for a specially appointed „People’s Council” to rule.Whatever happens, Yingluck added, „it must be asked whether this is the wish of the majority of the people or not.”___Associated Press writers Grant Peck and Sinfah Tunsarawuth contributed to this report.
KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s opposition leaders urged hundreds of thousands of pro-Europe protesters at a rally on Sunday to keep up pressure on President Viktor Yanukovich to sack his government and drop plans for closer ties with Russia.The protesters, gathered on Kiev’s Independence Square, are furious with the Yanukovich government for its decision to ditch a landmark pact with the European Union in favor of a trade deal with Moscow, Ukraine’s Soviet-era overlord.Sunday’s rally marks a further escalation in a weeks-long confrontation between authorities and protesters that has raised fears for political and economic stability in the former Soviet republic of 46 million people.”This is a decisive moment when all Ukrainians have gathered here because they do not want to live in a country where corruption rules and where there is no justice,” said world heavyweight boxing champion-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko.The opposition accuses Yanukovich, who met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, of preparing to take Ukraine into a Moscow-led customs union, which they see as an attempt to recreate the Soviet Union.View galleryPeople attend a rally organized by supporters of EU integration at Maidan Nezalezhnosti or Independe …”We are on a razor’s edge between a final plunge into cruel dictatorship and a return home to the European community,” jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko said in an emotional message to the crowd read out by her daughter Yevgenia.”There is a significantly greater chance of ending up in a medieval dictatorship; the choice is in your hands,” said Tymoshenko, Yanukovich’s main rival, who is serving a seven-year jail sentence for abuse of office in a case condemned by the West as politically motivated.ANTI-RUSSIAN RHETORIC-Tymoshenko, whose fiery rhetoric galvanized protesters in the 2004-05 Orange Revolution that denied Yanukovich the presidency then, appealed to the protesters not to give in and not to agree to negotiate with Yanukovich’s „gang”.Far-right nationalist leader Oleh Tyahnybok asked the crowd „Do we want to go under the yoke of Moscow?”, to which they bellowed „No!”. When he asked „Do we want to return to Europe?”, they yelled „Yes!”.View gallerySupporters of EU integration hold a rally at Maidan Nezalezhnosti or Independence Square in central …A group of protesters later moved towards the government building, a kilometer away, and began to erect tents and barricades, apparently with the aim of stopping normal government activity next week.Independence Square has been transformed into a makeshift village of tents, festooned with Ukrainian blue and yellow flags, EU flags and opposition banners, beneath a large television screen. People huddle around braziers for warmth.In a gesture sure to annoy Yanukovich, protesters hoisted a huge portrait of Tymoshenko onto a New Year Tree, festooned with anti-government placards, that towers over the square.The Moscow and Kiev governments have both denied that Putin and Yanukovich discussed the customs union in their talks on Friday in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, but further bilateral talks are planned for December 17.Yanukovich and Putin, who regards Ukraine as strategically vital to Moscow’s own interests, are widely believed to have struck a bargain whereby Ukraine obtains cheaper Russian gas and possibly credits in exchange for backing away from the EU.View galleryA man speaks on the phone at the top of a construction of an artificial Christmas tree, with Maidan …Klitschko, who appears to be emerging as a possible leader-in-waiting, told protesters they would achieve their aim, though he stressed the need to stay peaceful.DEMANDS-Last weekend, riot police beat protesters and journalists, triggering EU condemnation and swelling the protesters’ ranks.”We do not want to be kept quiet by a policeman’s truncheon,” Klitschko told Sunday’s crowd.He demanded the release of political prisoners, punishment of those responsible for last weekend’s police crackdown, the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s government and early presidential and parliamentary elections.View galleryInterior Ministry personnel hold shields as they stand guard near the Ukrainian parliament building …Those camped out on Independence Square have been swelled by huge numbers coming in from Ukrainian-speaking areas of western and central Ukraine, where opposition politicians enjoy strong support.A Tymoshenko ally, former interior minister Yuri Lutsenko, appealed to people in Russian-speaking areas of the east – the bedrock of Yanukovich’s power – to turn out and join the protests. „We are the same people as you are, except that they stole from you earlier,” he said.Police have threatened to eject protesters occupying public buildings including Kiev’s City Hall, which is a stone’s throw from the makeshift barricades limiting access to the hub of the protest movement on Independence Square.But on Sunday it remained the organizational headquarters of the protests, where volunteers were signing up be on security duty or offer legal aid to demonstrators should the protests turn sour. Some demonstrators were asleep on mats on the floor of the main hall, while others were rifling through a huge pile of donated clothing.”The current authorities have been completely discredited by their actions and the police brutality. What unites everyone here is a desire to see a change of government. We need new elections,” said Sviatislav Zaporozhit, 26, who works in retail in Kiev.”I don’t want to go back to what my parents lived under the Soviet Union … When I am old, I want to live like people in Europe. I want to live in a normal country.”(Additional reporting by Richard Balmforth and Natalia Zinets; Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Kevin Liffey)
Israel minister proposes partial West Bank annexation1 hour agoView galleryJerusalem (AFP) – Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday proposed that Israel annex parts of the West Bank under its full military control where most Jewish settlers live.Related Stories
„I favour implementation of Israeli sovereignty over the zone where 400,000 (settlers) live and only 70,000 Arabs,” said the head of the far-right Jewish Home religious party in the ruling coalition.The finance ministry, meanwhile, has decided to allocate an extra $26 million to build settler homes in the Palestinian territory rather than implement cuts as earlier planned, according to the website of Israel’s private Channel 10 television.The Palestinians have long viewed the construction of Jewish settlements on land they see as part of their future state as among the biggest obstacles to resolving their decades-old conflict with Israel.Bennett also ridiculed the US-brokered peace talks between Israel and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, whose writ covers the West Bank but not Gaza, ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas.”This is all a joke. It’s as if we’re discussing the purchase of a car with only half of its owners,” he told public radio.In another negative Israeli assessment of the peace process, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said Saturday: „There is no partner on the Palestinian side to reach a two-state solution for two peoples.”Their views contrasted with a statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday at the end of his latest mission to Israel and the Palestinian territories.”I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and the prosperity and the security that all of the people of this region deserve,” Kerry told reporters.Direct negotiations were launched in late July but have made little apparent progress as they approach the half-way mark of a targeted nine months.
View galleryA general view of the Arak heavy-water project, 190 km (120 miles) southwest of Tehran January 15, 2011. …DUBAI (Reuters) – U.N. inspectors visited an Iranian plant on Sunday linked to a planned heavy-water reactor that could yield nuclear bomb fuel, taking up an initial offer by Tehran to open its disputed nuclear program to greater scrutiny.Related Stories
The increased transparency is the result of a thaw in relations between Iran and the West that culminated in a deal struck last month under which Tehran is to curb its nuclear program in return for some easing of sanctions.It was the first time in more than two years that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had been allowed to go to the Arak heavy water production plant, which is designed to supply a research reactor under construction nearby.Iran’s heavy water work is a big concern for the West because it could be used in the process of making a nuclear bomb. Tehran says its program is for peaceful purposes.Two inspectors arrived in Tehran on Saturday and met experts from Iran’s own atomic energy agency before travelling to Arak in the evening, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported.”The inspection is under way and will be finished this afternoon, and they (the inspectors) will return to Tehran,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Iranian atomic energy agency. „The inspectors will go back to Vienna tonight.”The inspection is part of a deal between the IAEA and Tehran, separate from the November 24 interim nuclear accord reached between Iran and the so-called P5+1 in Geneva.Officials from Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia are to meet on December 9-10 in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, for expert-level talks on implementing the Geneva deal.Top Iranian negotiator Abbas Araqchi said negotiations at the foreign minister level would resume after January 2014, according to ISNA.There is a „strong possibility” that the timing of another inspection, of the Gachin uranium mine in southern Iran, will also be discussed in Vienna this week, Kamalvandi told ISNA. The IAEA says it wants to visit Gchine to get a better understanding of Iran’s nuclear program.U.S. officials have said Washington might press Iran to dismantle part of the unfinished Arak nuclear reactor, but Kamalvandi said Tehran would not entertain such a demand.”We won’t accept getting into discussions about such issues. Iranian officials have repeated their stance over and over again: Iran’s nuclear rights are non-negotiable,” he said.(Reporting by Isabel Coles; Editing by Louise Ireland)