No agreement in Geneva on Iran
Although nuclear talks finished without agreement on Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that nuclear talks between Iran and global powers would continue at a later date.
"From the start, France wanted an agreement to the important question of Iran's nuclear program. The Geneva meeting allowed us to advance, but we were not able to conclude because there are still some questions to be addressed," Fabius told reporters early on the fourth day of ministerial talks in Geneva as reported by The Daily Star.
Catherine Ashton, Chief of the European Union (EU) foreign policy announced that senior political officials, as well as ministers, would meet again to try to come to an agreement on a deal.
Saturday wrapped up with a meeting of ministers from Iran. The major powers held a series of meetings late on Saturday in a final push to hammer out the outline of a deal that would stop parts of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the much sought after sanctions relief.
"Efforts to secure an agreement are continuing with great intensity," a Western diplomat close to the talks said on Saturday before the talks ended.
An unexpected visit from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to support in the latest round of negotiations was the kick off to meetings on Thursday and on Friday. His efforts were extended to help narrow remaining differences between Iran and the six nations.
In demonstrating the six-nation group’s commitment to coming to agreement with Iran, Fabius, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and their counterparts from Russia and Germany, Sergei Lavrov and Guido Westerwelle, along with Chinese vice foreign minister Li Baodong, all attended to meeting.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that if there was no official agreement coming out of the weekend of meetings, "the process will continue in one week or 10 days".
His comments pointed at a possible issue within the Western camp. It was reported that a Western diplomat close to the negotiations claimed the French were trying to upstage the other powers.
"The Americans, the EU and the Iranians have been working intensively together for months on this proposal, and this is nothing more than an attempt by Fabius to insert himself into relevance late in the negotiations," the diplomat told Reuters, speaking anonymously.
As the leading powers continue their engagement in discussion, niceties are running thin. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi commented to Mehr news agency that his colleagues from the six powers "need constant coordination and consultation in order to determine (their) stances".
The main points of discussion in the talks include calls for a shutdown of an Iranian reactor that could eventually help to produce weapons-grade nuclear fuel, the outcome of Iran's stockpile of higher-enriched uranium, and the prospect of relief from economic sanctions by the US sought by Tehran.
The overall goal is to secure an agreement that would limit Iran's nuclear program making it more transparent for UN inspectors. In exchange, Tehran would secure phased, initially limited, relief from the sanctions choking the economy of the giant OPEC state.