Intense days ahead as Iran nuclear deadline draws closer: Zarif
The Iranian foreign minister says Iran-P5+1 talks on Tehran’s nuclear program are entering very intensive days, saying political will remains the key to reaching a final agreement by the self-imposed June 30 deadline.
“We discussed how we can expedite the discussions in Vienna for the next few difficult days that we have ahead of us. We agreed to continue the drafting … Its going to be a very intense few days …,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday after a meeting with his British counterpart Philip Hammond in Luxembourg.
Representatives from Iran and the P5+1 – the United States, the UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany – are holding extensive talks to finalize the text of a possible deal over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by the end of this month.
Iran and the global powers seek to clinch a comprehensive final deal based on the mutual understanding reached on the key parameters of such a deal in the Swiss city of Lausanne on April 2.
Zarif further reiterated that the talks on Tehran’s nuclear program may continue “a few days” after the deadline, saying however, that the two sides have shown the needed political commitment, which he said, is the most important precondition for reaching the agreement.
“I don’t know how many days it will take to finish this… there is a political will to accept the realities,” said Zarif, adding, “There is a good possibility that we can finish this by the deadline or a few days after the deadline.”
Meanwhile, the British foreign minister also described the short remaining period as very tough, saying the two sides are intensively working to reach a deal by June 30.
“We all agreed that we need to work towards the June 30 deadline next week and we’re going to pull all the stocks out,” said Hammond, stressing that there remains no insoluble problem at the discussions between Iran and international powers.
The top British diplomat also called on the Iranian side to show more flexibility in the days remaining to the potential deal, saying that the global powers will never compromise on what he described as the “absolute red lines.”
Answering a question on the controversial issue of enhanced regime of inspections, Hammond said that the implementation of the final deal should be verifiable. However, he stopped short of directly saying that inspections of Iran’s military sites have to be part of the final deal.
“We understand the sensitivity around some of these issues and we are working hard to find ways to address the concerns that Iran has expressed, but [we] still maintain our red lines about full verification,” he said.
Zarif had earlier on Monday also met with his French and German counterparts, Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier respectively, in Luxembourg.