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Monday, July 13, 2015

Iran, world powers push for imminent nuclear deal

Nuclear negotiations between Tehran and six world powers were set to miss a midnight deadline to reach a final deal, but diplomats from all sides said they hoped for a breakthrough in the coming hours.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said an agreement was possible tomorrow, but Western and Iranian officials warned that sticking points remain, including a UN arms embargo, and that things could still fall apart.

The White House said significant issues remained to be resolved and Iran faced some tough decisions.

Officials close to the negotiations spoke of the increasing frustration on the part of European delegates regarding Kerry's apparent unwillingness to walk away, but the White House said "genuine progress" had been made and the US negotiating team would stay in Vienna as long as negotiations remained useful.

"There, there continue to be significant issues that remain," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. "They're not going to sign on to an agreement until all of our concerns have been addressed. And as long as they continue to make progress in doing that, then the talks will, will continue."

For days, Iran and six world powers have been close to a deal to give Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme, but officials said success was not guaranteed.

Meetings continued late into Monday with some diplomats hoping a breakthrough could happen overnight as they continued to struggle over issues such as U.N. sanctions and access to Iranian military sites.

Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sat in silence when asked if the deadline might be extended or if he could rule out an extension.

His Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said "there shouldn't be any extension", according to the semi-official Fars news agency, only to add: "But we can continue the talks as long as necessary."

Zarif spoke with Kerry and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini for more than an hour.

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Tags:  Iran  nuclear  UN  US  talks  





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