Iran nuclear talks in final stage: France FM
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says the marathon nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries are now in the final phase, amid signs of hope that a historic deal might finally be in sight.
“I hope we are finally entering the final phase of these marathon negotiations. I believe it,” Fabius told reporters in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Sunday.
Fabius added that he would attend meetings throughout the afternoon, including one with Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano.
As the discussions entered a 16th day on Sunday, the talks appeared to be on the cusp of a landmark agreement.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Britain, France, China and Russia – plus Germany have been engaged in intense talks in Vienna to settle the remaining differences and sign a final comprehensive deal.
Following a Saturday meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, Fabius said the time is ripe for a decision in the tough nuclear talks.
“Everything is on the table. It’s now time to decide,” the French minister said.
Russian FM flying to Vienna
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday set off for Vienna to rejoin the nuclear talks, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.
“Sergei Lavrov is flying out to Vienna to take part in the talks of the ‘six’ international mediators and Iran on the Iranian nuclear program,” the ministry said.
The Russian foreign minister and the US secretary of state had a phone conversation on Saturday on Kerry’s request.
Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry “continued discussing the course of the negotiations in Vienna on the work, on the agreement, (and) on the Iranian nuclear program.”
Negotiators of the six countries held a meeting on Sunday without the presence of the Iranian negotiating team.
Simultaneous with the P5+1 meeting, the Iranian deputy foreign ministers, Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-e Ravanchi, sat down with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman. The Iranian deputy foreign ministers are likely to hold talks with European Union deputy foreign policy chief, Helga Schmid, later on Sunday.
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi also held a short meeting with the IAEA chief on Sunday.