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Iran nuclear freeze start date elusive

Western diplomats say a start date for Tehran’s six-month nuclear freeze will prove difficult to agree on

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Iranian experts, world powers and the U.N. atomic watchdog may fall short of agreeing on a start date for Tehran’s six-month nuclear freeze, Western diplomats said on Tuesday.

Meetings between Tehran and the P5+1 – six world powers including United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany – are due to continue on Wednesday.

“It’s certainly going well in terms of that the talks are lengthy and that they are constructive discussions,” a Western envoy who took part in the meeting In Vienna told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“My sense is that given that there are seven or eight entities involved with their own views it’s inevitably going to take time.”

The Western envoy and a second diplomat said that it was unlikely to get a statement of when Iran will begin its promised six-month freeze of parts of its nuclear program, as decided on Nov. 24 as part of a deal made in Geneva.

“It’s difficult to imagine that happening,” the second diplomat said.

However, the date may be decided in a so far unscheduled meeting of political directors from Iran and the six powers

Hamed Baeedinejad, the leader of Iran’s negotiation said that they had had “very good discussions” that “made our views known to each other with regard to the implementation aspects” in the Geneva deal.

“The discussions are very smooth... We are not supposed to have any kind sort of agreement, just we are trying to have unified understanding of each and every measure.” Baeedinejad told reporters on Tuesday.

During a meeting in Geneva last month, Iran and the world powers agreed to implement the temporary freeze in exchange of modest relief of sanctions from U.N. and western that have hit the Islamic Republic’s economy hard.

The Vienna meeting of nuclear, sanctions and finance experts, which began Monday, is aimed at debating how the interim deal between Tehran and the P5+1 will be implemented and how it will be monitored by the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

In the next six-months, Iran and western powers are due to negotiate a “comprehensive” agreement aimed at ending the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program that has been causing tensions for a decade.

World powers suspect Tehran’s nuclear ambitions include acquiring a nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denies. The Islamic Republic insists that her nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Israel who has been suspected of having nuclear weapons is strongly opposed to the Geneva deal, while other Gulf States have also criticized the agreement.