Zarif rules out extending nuclear talks

July 14, 2015 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said late on Sunday that “there will be no extension” extension of nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 group.

However, Zarif told reporters from the balcony of his room in Vienna’s Palais Coburg hotel that the work will not be finished on Monday.

“We still have got work to do [to clinch a deal],” he said when asked about whether the text of a comprehensive deal has been finalized.

Zarif and his U.S. counterpart John Kerry have met nearly every day over the past two weeks. They met again on Monday in an attempt to break the deadlock.

China says Iran nuclear talks cannot be delayed anymore

The Chinese foreign minister says he believes that “there cannot and should not be further delay of the negotiations.”

Wang Yi, who is in Vienna, told reporters on Monday, “With intensive consultations in the past couple of days, new progress has been made in the final stage of negotiations.”

“China believes that no agreement could be perfect and conditions are already in place for us to reach a good agreement, hence foreign ministers of the six countries are gathered once again in Vienna to bring the negotiation to its conclusion,” he stated.

Araqchi says some issues still unresolved

Some outstanding issues still remain in the negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 group over Tehran’s nuclear program, Seyed Abbas Araqchi, a senior Iranian nuclear negotiator and deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, said on Monday.

“Talks have reached the final breathtaking moments; certain issues still remain,” Araqchi told reporters. “As long as these issues are not settled, one cannot say we have reached an agreement.”

“I cannot promise that the [outstanding] issues will be resolved by tonight (Monday) or tomorrow night,” Araqchi noted.

He expressed hope parties to the talks can iron out the sticking points and “reach a point which both sides agree on.”

In Brussels, French President Francois Hollande said the sides are near agreement but “a gap” remains.

Security Council should no longer describe Iran's nuclear activities as illegal

According to AP, diplomats said on Monday at least two other issues still needed final agreement: Iranian demands that a UN arms embargo be lifted and that any UN Security Council resolution approving the nuclear deal no longer describe Iran’s nuclear activities as illegal.

The diplomats demanded anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly.

A temporary nuclear deal between world powers and Iran was set to expire at midnight Monday Vienna time (6 p.m. EDT), and diplomats had hoped to complete and announce a final agreement before day's end. But they warned there was no guarantee, and some said the talks could stretch into Tuesday despite little appetite from anyone for another extension.

Grim-faced foreign ministers from the six countries negotiating with Iran declined to answer questions about another possible prolongation of discussions as they gathered for a group meeting at the 19th-century Viennese palace hosting the talks.

The foreign ministers of Russia and China, who had left the talks last week, both returned to the Austrian capital late Sunday. Most other foreign ministers of the seven nations at the table also were in Vienna by Monday, in place for any announcement.