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Iran yields on sanction demands in nuke talks

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 5:39 p.m.

VIENNA — Iran is easing a key demand in negotiations with world powers over its disputed nuclear program, boosting prospects for the top-priority agreement that diplomats are racing to finish within a month.

Abbas Araqchi, Iran's deputy foreign minister, acknowledged amid a week of negotiations in Vienna that Tehran now accepts the principle that as part of the deal sanctions on its economy would be gradually eased as Iran gradually complies with limits on its nuclear activities.

Iran's official line has been that it would require an immediate lifting of all of the sanctions at the time the deal is signed. The economic penalties have choked off its oil exports and limited its trade, and the Iranian government needs to have them lifted as soon as possible to help restore its teetering economy.

“It's a big deal,” said Cliff Kupchan, an Iran specialist at the Eurasia Group risk consulting firm. “Iran is recognizing that lifting sanctions will be tough and take time here. Araqchi's statement lifts one barrier, a significant one, to a deal.”

Iranian and Western officials continue to stress that many differences remain between the two sides.

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