Officials say Iran nuclear talks could overrun

23 June 2015

Negotiators concede talks could run beyond 30 June deadline

  • Iran’s foreign minister meets EU counterparts in Luxembourg
  • Zarif says talks could go on “a few days after deadline”
  • One week to go for negotiations on historic agreement

Officials from Iran and Western countries engaged in the nuclear talks say they are willing to go past the 30 June deadline to reach a comprehensive agreement.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his counterparts from France, Germany and the UK have been engaged in talks on the sidelines of an EU meeting in Luxembourg.

“There is a political commitment on the part of everybody to move forward,” Zarif told reporters in Luxembourg on 22 June, quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

“I believe that… if there is political will to accept the realities and move forward based on what we agreed in Lausanne, then there is a good possibility we can finish this by the deadline or a few days after the deadline,” he added.

Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers – also including the US, China and Russia – are aiming to reach an agreement on 30 June that will see Tehran agree to limit its nuclear development programme in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

Negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, to sign a framework agreement overran by two days, with talks going into the early hours of the morning before a deal was finally ironed out on 2 April.

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond called Iran to show more flexibility, while his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he hopes Tehran will stick closely to the Lausanne agreement’s key points.

“We always expected it would go right to the line and maybe beyond the line,” Hammond was quoted as saying. “So I think the serious negotiation is now getting under way and, over the next week or so, I hope we will start to see some real progress.”

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