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Exclusive: Marie Harf on Iran nuclear talks

Published: Updated:

“Very very wide gaps” remain between Iran and the U.S.-led group of negotiators pursuing talks in Vienna on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, deputy U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told Al Arabiya News in an exclusive interview.

“We’ve made progress in some [issues discussed in nuclear deal talks], the Iranians have shown some flexibility in some, and in others, there’s still very very wide gaps,” Harf told Al Arabiya.

“What you’ll see Secretary Kerry do over the next few days when he’s here, is sit down with foreign minister Zarif and talk to the Iranian team, to really assess whether they are willing and able to make the critical choices they will need to make to get to an agreement.”

Failure for the Iranian side to reach a deal on its nuclear program will result in an increase in pressure on the Islamic Republic, she added.

Iran has stuck to “inadequate and unworkable” positions in nuclear talks with six world powers despite a looming deadline for a deal to end sanctions against Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, a U.S. official said on Saturday, Reuters reported.

Another senior U.S. official added that it was difficult to consider extending the negotiations with Iran beyond the July 20 deadline without first seeing “significant progress on key issues” negotiations between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.