Iran wants limits on nuclear work eased before any deal expires – officials

(Reuters) – Iran is pressing major world powers to agree to start easing some restrictions on its atomic program earlier than Western countries are willing to accept, Western and Iranian officials told Reuters.

This is one of the sticking points that divide negotiators from Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China in the Swiss city of Lausanne as an end-March deadline for a framework agreement approaches, the officials said.

So far a framework agreement is not in sight.

One of the main sticking points, Western officials say, is Iran’s insistence on the right to conduct unfettered research and development into advanced enrichment centrifuges, machines that purify uranium for use as fuel for reactors or, if very highly enriched, for weapons.

“The problem is about the number of centrifuges that Iran wants to keep for R&D … which is one of our red lines,” a senior Iranian official said on condition of anonymity…