Iran Nuclear Talks Extended As Signs Of Agreement Emerge
July 14, 2015
Nuclear negotiations between Iran and six major world powers continued into the wee hours of July 14, amid signs that a final deal could soon emerge.
Reuters reported that negotiators reached tentative agreement on critical issues that have held up the negotiations in the past.
A draft deal that could be changed in the final version, the news agency said, would give United Nations inspectors access to all Iranian sites suspected of housing nuclear weapons or research, including military sites, based on consultations between Tehran and world powers.
If agreement is reached, a UN Security Council resolution carrying it out would be adopted as early as this month, negotiators said. Steps to be taken by both sides under the deal, including limits on Iran's nuclear program and relief from U.S. and European sanctions on Iran, would be carried out in the first half of 2016, Reuters reported.
In an apparent breakthrough on another sticky issue, Iran and the UN International Atomic Energy Agency have agreed on a plan to address outstanding questions about the possible military dimensions of past Iranian nuclear activity by the end of this year, Reuters reported.
The plan includes one visit to the Parchin military site as well as possible interviews with Iranian nuclear scientists, the news agency said. Some sanctions relief would be conditioned on Tehran resolving this issue, it said.
Diplomats said they are hoping to approve a final version of the draft agreement as early as July 14.
In another sign that the deal is within sight, different delegations at the negotiations advised reporters in a packed press tent in Vienna to stay up all night and be ready for an early morning news conference July 14.
On July 13, the White House said talks in Vienna have made real progress but "significant issues" remain, adding that Iran faced some tough decisions.
'They have made genuine progress... but there continues to be some sticking points that remain unresolved,' White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington.
Earnest said that if the talks are not completed by midnight July 13, then parties would agree to a short-term extension of the interim agreement.
He said that the U.S. negotiating team will remain in Vienna as long as the talks remain "useful.'
Top diplomats from Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany have ratcheted up efforts in recent weeks to reach a final nuclear deal that brings sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for curbs on Tehran's nuclear program.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met July 13 with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini for high-level talks.
'Some issues still remain unresolved and until they are solved, we cannot say an agreement has been reached,' said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who added he was hopeful a deal would be clinched.
Iran's President Hassan Rohani is expected to address the nation on state television when the nuclear talks have concluded, IRNA reported, quoting an official at the presidential office.
'No one is thinking of another extension,' Alireza Miryusefi, a spokesman for the Iranian delegation, said on Twitter. 'Everyone working hard to get to yes today, but political will [is] still required.'
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters on arriving in Vienna July 13 that there 'cannot and should not be further delay' in clinching a deal.
'China believes that no agreement can be perfect and conditions are already in place for us to reach an agreement,' he said.
With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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