A year and half of nuclear talks between Iran and major powers were creeping towards the finish line on Friday as negotiators wrestled with sticking points including questions about Tehran’s past atomic research.
Iran is in talks with the United States and five other powers - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia - on an agreement to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
“We are coming to the end,” said a senior Western diplomat, who added there was no plan to carry on for long past next Tuesday. “Either we get an agreement or we don’t,” he said, adding that the process “remains quite difficult.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Iranian state television that “a lot of progress has been made, but still various technical issues remain that need the other party’s political will.”
Still, all sides say a deal is within reach. U.S., European and Iranian officials, including U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Iranian deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takhteravanchi, held a six-hour negotiating session that ended at 3 a.m. on Friday, a senior U.S. official said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Zarif were due to hold a bilateral session on Friday, though that meeting was delayed several times.
Russia’s chief negotiator Sergei Ryabkov said the text of the agreement was more than 90 percent complete. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi voiced confidence that the parties would reach a mutually acceptable accord.
The negotiators missed a June 30 deadline for a final agreement, but have given themselves until July 7, and foreign ministers not already in Vienna are due to return on Sunday for a final push.
A deal, if agreed, would require Iran to severely curtail uranium enrichment work for more than a decade to ensure it would need at least one year’s “breakout time” to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a single weapon, compared with current estimates of two to three months.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر