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Give Iran Diplomacy a Chance, Europeans Urge Congress

Top European diplomats on Thursday waded into the political fray in Washington over Iran, urging U.S. lawmakers to hold off on new sanctions and pleading for time to allow nuclear talks to succeed.

"Maintaining pressure on Iran through our existing sanctions is essential,"  four European foreign policy chiefs warned in a joint op-ed in the Washington Post.

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Iran Nuclear Chief Insists on Enrichment ahead of Talks

Iran's atomic agency chief insisted Sunday on Tehran's demands for increased uranium enrichment, days before the resumption of thorny talks with world powers in Geneva.

Ali Akbar Salehi, a former foreign minister and ex-nuclear negotiator for the Islamic republic, said that within eight years the country would need 12 times more enriched uranium than at present.

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French Envoy in Shuttle Diplomacy over Lebanon's Presidential Crisis

The French foreign ministry's director for North Africa and the Middle East affairs is expected to travel to Riyadh, Tehran and the Vatican in an attempt to resolve the Lebanese presidential deadlock, pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper said Jean-François Girault will travel to Saudi Arabia on January 5. He is then scheduled to make a trip to Iran and later head to the Vatican for talks with top officials on Lebanon's presidential crisis.

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With Iran Nuclear Deal in Balance, Hardliners Protest back Home

Tensions over a possible nuclear deal between Iran and world powers were on display Sunday outside an atomic facility in Tehran where a rare protest saw hardliners criticize government negotiators.

While the crowd was small -- about 200, mostly students, gathered at the entrance to the Tehran Research Reactor -- the event was the first such officially approved demonstration in months.

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Tehran Frees Iranian-Canadian 'Blogfather'

Iran has freed an Iranian-Canadian journalist dubbed "the blogfather" who was jailed for 19 years for traveling to Israel, local media reported Thursday.

Hossein Derakhshan was arrested in November 2008 after visiting Israel -- Iran's arch-foe -- with his Canadian passport on what he called a mission to breed understanding between Iranians and Israelis. 

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Report: Paris Pressuring Tehran over Presidential Candidate Backed by March 8, 14

France is seeking to encourage Iran to help the rival Lebanese politicians strike a deal on a new consensual president over fears that the regional turmoil would harm coexistence in Lebanon, diplomatic sources said.

The sources told An Nahar newspaper published on Thursday that the French initiative comes with an American support to fill the vacuum at Baabda Palace.

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Iran Says Jailed British Woman had Links to Opposition

A British-Iranian woman jailed in Tehran since June was arrested for having contacts with the "opposition based abroad" and propaganda offences against the regime, a justice official said on Tuesday.

Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, was detained outside a stadium in the capital where she had gone to watch a volleyball match.

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Kerry Denies U.S. Linked Iran Atom Talks to Militant Efforts

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday vehemently denied that Washington offered to discuss cooperation with Iran in the fight against Islamic militancy if a nuclear deal was reached with Tehran.

"There is no linkage whatsoever of the nuclear discussions with any other issue," Kerry told reporters in Beijing, where he was attending annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum meetings.

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Family of Jailed U.S.-Iranian Reporter Urge his Release

The U.S. government Thursday backed calls by the family of a Washington Post journalist held in Iran without charge that Iranian authorities should free him.

Jason Rezaian, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen who is the newspaper's Iran correspondent, was arrested at his home in Tehran on July 22, but the allegations against him have never been officially disclosed.

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Iran Nuclear Talks Could be Extended Again

One of Iran's top nuclear negotiators signaled on Friday that talks with world powers could be extended beyond November's deadline, given big barriers standing in the way of a deal.

With both sides speaking of wide gaps in what limits should be placed on Iran's nuclear program, the next round of talks will take place in Vienna on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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