Final day of Iran nuclear talks commences, no word of extension
European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wait a meeting with officials from P5+1, the European Union and Iran at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel March 31, 2015 in Lausanne. (AFP/File)
An Iranian official says all the negotiating parties in the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries are making serious efforts to find solutions to the outstanding issues surrounding Tehran’s nuclear program, adding that there is no talk yet of an extension to the negotiations beyond the March 31 deadline to reach a mutual understanding.
Speaking to reporters in the Swiss city of Lausanne late on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Director General for Political Affairs Hamid Ba'idinejad said the issue of continuing the talks beyond the March 31 deadline has not been raised yet, adding that finding solutions to the remaining issues is of “importance to all.”
“All [the negotiating sides] emphasize that the chance should not be missed and they are all doing their best,” he added.
The Iranian negotiator also said no agreement has been finalized yet between Iran and the P5+1 countries, noting that all the parties believe they should focus on further efforts to achieve their objectives and reach a mutual understanding.
“The marathon meetings will continue so as we reach a final agreement,” Ba'idinejad pointed out.
Asked whether the points of difference were technical or political, the official said ministerial-level discussions “may have a technical framework, but have important political aspects.”
The senior Foreign Ministry official emphasized that all the negotiating parties should make their own decisions and work on new formulas to settle the outstanding issues.
Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany - have entered a critical phase as they are trying to reach mutual understanding on all issues by the end of March. The two sides have set July 1 as the deadline for striking a final agreement.
On Monday, top representatives of Iran and the P5+1 group held a plenary meeting in Lausanne to narrow their differences on the outstanding issues pertaining to Tehran’s nuclear program.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sat down with US Secretary of State John Kerry, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
Following the ministerial meeting, Iranian deputy foreign ministers, Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-e Ravanchi, and the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman held a meeting.
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz also held talks on the same day in the presence of Araqchi, Takht-e Ravanchi and Sherman as well as EU foreign policy chief's deputy, Helga Schmid.
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