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In brief: Both sides quell expectations during Iran talks in Vienna

Vienna – Both sides sought to tamp down expectations Tuesday as representatives of Iran and six world powers met in Vienna for talks aimed at crafting a comprehensive agreement about Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.

Much of the opening day in the scheduled three-day initial session was dedicated to working out an agenda and a framework for negotiations, reports indicated. The talks are expected to be difficult and to last several months, observers say.

“It is a big job, and of course we have a long and complicated negotiation ahead,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told journalists in Vienna.

The negotiations are meant to build on a landmark interim deal hammered out in Geneva in November. In that accord, which went into effect in January and is meant to last for six months, Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from international sanctions that have battered its economy.

Former Illinois lawmaker arrested in Zimbabwe

Harare, Zimbabwe – Mel Reynolds, a former congressman from Illinois, was arrested in Zimbabwe after he was accused of immigration violations and allegedly found in possession of pornography, state media reported Tuesday.

Reynolds, who resigned from Congress when he was convicted of sex crimes nearly 20 years ago, was taken into custody Monday at a hotel in Harare, the capital, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported.

Fisherman leaves hospital but still disoriented after ordeal

San Salvador, El Salvador – The Salvadoran fisherman who says he drifted at sea for more than a year left a hospital Tuesday after treatment for the psychological and physical effects of his ordeal, and told reporters he survived because of his faith in God.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga, 37, appeared strong and walked without help, but also seemed disoriented and had trouble speaking.

Alvarenga said he didn’t plan to tell his story and didn’t want to remember the ordeal.

“I always had faith that I was going to survive, asking (God) every day and every night,” he said. “I never lost faith that one day I would be found.”