US hopeful of agreement with Iran on nuclear issue by July 20

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The US has exuded confidence of meeting a deadline of reaching an agreement with Iran in the latter's nuclear programme, officials said, as top diplomats from the two countries along with other members of the P5+1 held latest round of talks on the issue in Vienna.

"The negotiations have already intensified, as we said that they would, and they will continue to do so in the days and weeks leading up to July 20. I cannot imagine that between now and July 20, we will not in some form or fashion be meeting every single day in one way or another," a Senior State Department official told reporters.

The US delegation to Vienna among others is led by the Deputy Secretary of State, Bill Burns, and by the Vice President's National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan.

"Our focus is to make as much progress as possible, and of course to reach an agreement by the 20th of July," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

Noting that the focus is on July 20, the official said: "I think everyone in the P5+1 agrees and I think Iran agrees that it is not in anyone's interest to decide today that an extension is warranted. We can get this done. It is possible to get it done. We should be focused on getting it.

"So it could be that there is absolutely nothing to gain for Iran by asking for an extension should they want to do so. We know that in the US there are many strong feelings about keeping focused on getting this agreement done so that the international community can have confidence and assurance that Iran's programme is entirely peaceful. So right now we are entirely focused on July 20th," the official said.

"I think that it's most worthwhile for all of us to focus on the hard work necessary to get an agreement by July 20th that is in Iran's best interest. But looking from the outside, it would seem to me it would be in their best interest to do so, and it's certainly in the interest of the international community that we are sure that Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon and that its programme is exclusively peaceful," the official said in response to a question.

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