German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Saturday that ongoing negotiations between Iran and the major powers on the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program have been “encouraging”.
His remarks in Abu Dhabi come ahead of a new round of talks in mid-June between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany).
“Regardless of the general situation which makes cooperation between the U.S. and Russia difficult in some areas at the moment, the negotiations on the Iranian issue have certainly gone further,” he said.
“In recent weeks and months they were so encouraging that we maintained a chance of reaching an agreement,” he added, after talks with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan.
Persian Gulf Arab states have welcomed the ongoing talks aimed at striking a long-term nuclear deal.
The next round of talks on resolving the nuclear issue will take place in Vienna on June 16-20.
Three days of such meetings two weeks ago made no “tangible progress,” with a July 20 deadline for a conclusive agreement looming on the horizon and major issues still outstanding.
“Whether these negotiations can be completed within the agreed time frame cannot be said at the present time,” said Steinmeier. “Anyway, there is no sign that anyone wants to go beyond that time frame.”
Differences reportedly include the scope of Iran’s enrichment of uranium and its unfinished Arak research reactor.
The differences during the last round in Vienna prevented a start being made on an early draft agreement.
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