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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Zarif says "very good" progress made in talks

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Lausanne, April 1, IRNA -- The six world powers and Iran have agreed on the principal issues during the nuclear negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavorv said overnight Wednesday. A framework agreement will be drafted and presented on Wednesday, he added.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed that "very good" progress was made and said that solutions were found to most of the issues. He said the sides require some rest and that he hopes they will start drafting a framework agreement on Wednesday.

Lavrov said that Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will give a joint statement about the forming deal on Wednesday.

European diplomats with knowledge of the discussions said late on Tuesday that, after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi flew back home to Beijing, it emerged that most of the other foreign ministers had to leave on Wednesday morning.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius notified his counterparts that he plans to leave at 5 A.M. in order to attend a cabinet meeting in Paris; German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier made it clear he was scheduled for a visit in the Baltic states and therefore would also have to leave Lausanne; Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had to fly out due to schedule constraints.

After the media was briefed that some of the foreign ministers announced that they plan to abandon the nuclear negotiations, many outlets reported that the Iranians were given an ultimatum to reach a decision by Wednesday morning. Furious over the briefing by their European counterparts, senior U.S. officials were quick to deny that an ultimatum was issued. A similar statement was also published by the Iranians.

The European diplomats also said that the meetings between the sides continued almost uninterrupted on Tuesday evening and overnight Wednesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, after a week of intensive deliberations that ended without a framework agreement for continuing the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, the foreign ministers of Iran and the six world powers decided at 9 P.M., just three hours before their self-imposed deadline, to continue the talks through the night.

‎'We've made enough progress in the last days to merit staying until Wednesday. There are several difficult issues still remaining,' Acting spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Marie Harf said.

Representatives of Iran and the six powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – have been conducting talks since last Wednesday in an attempt to arrive at principles that would guide the negotiations through the final deadline of June 30.

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