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Iran’s Zarif Uses Twitter, Facebook to Deny Nuclear Deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a press conference closing two days of closed-door nuclear talks in Geneva on Oct. 16, 2013. Photographer: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted comments on Facebook and Twitter to deny leaks of the Persian Gulf nation’s proposed deal with world powers over its disputed nuclear program.

Zarif said in a Twitter posting today that members of the Iranian negotiating team “are the only ones who know the proposal and they only speak on-the-record. Anonymous sources have no info.”

A report yesterday on Al-Monitor, a Washington-based website, cited an unidentified Iranian saying Iran had offered to freeze production of 20 percent-enriched uranium, pledged to convert its stockpile of enriched material to fuel rods and hand over the spent fuel from the Arak heavy water reactor to an international body.

After a decade of talks punctuated by threats of military action and trade sanctions, Iran may be moving toward a deal with the P5+1 powers -- the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China. The two sides will hold another round of negotiations next month.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the meetings in Geneva on Oct. 15 and 16 were the most detailed talks “by a long way.”

No details of Iran’s plan have been leaked, Zarif said on his Facebook page, which has more than 480,000 fans. “Of course we know that some groups are not keen for these negotiations to be successful,” Zarif said. He added that “the Zionists had the greatest fear” from an agreement between Iran and the West.

In the past, Zarif, who was appointed to his post in August, has used his Facebook page to share his views on progress of talks during the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month, as well as to issue comments against hardliners in Tehran.

He is the only cabinet minister to have a Facebook page and resorts to social media despite the Iranian government’s ban on Facebook and Twitter.

Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Mark Kirk called for more sanctions on Iran on Oct. 16 after the end of talks, saying Iran cannot be trusted.

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