Iran's Zarif says extending nuclear deadline again in nobody''s interest

Another extension to the deadline for reaching an agreement on Iran`s nuclear programme is in nobody`s interests, although not reaching a deal would not be "the end of the world", Iran`s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday.

Munich: Another extension to the deadline for reaching an agreement on Iran`s nuclear programme is in nobody`s interests, although not reaching a deal would not be "the end of the world", Iran`s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday.

"I don`t think if we don`t have an agreement it will be the end of the world," Zarif told the Munich Security Conference, where he met US Secretary of State John Kerry and German, Russian and British officials.

"But I do not believe another extension is in the interests of anybody as I did not believe this extension was either necessary or useful," he said, referring to the June 30 deadline for a deal to limit Iran`s nuclear programme in exchange for lifting sanctions.

Last November, Iran, the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia failed to resolve their 12-year stand-off over Tehran`s nuclear ambitions and gave themselves seven more months to clinch an historic deal.

Western officials said they were aiming to secure an agreement on the substance of a final accord by March but that more time would be needed to reach a consensus on the all-important technical details.

The UN`s nuclear watchdog is conducting an investigation into possible military dimensions of Iran`s nuclear programme and has urged Iran to accelerate clarification of outstanding issues.

Asked about Israel`s fears that Iran`s nuclear programme is a threat to its existence, he said Israel used a "hypothetical Iranian threat" as a "smokescreen" for what he called atrocities against Palestinians and others in the region.

He reiterated Iran`s position that it has never sought to make nuclear weapons and would not do so.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting that "world powers and Iran are charging ahead to an agreement that would allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weaponry, something that would imperil the existence of the State of Israel".

Netanyahu said he would "take every action to thwart a bad and dangerous agreement".  

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