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Iran, P5+1 have no agreement on key issues 4 days before end of round of talks

July 16, 2014, 14:19 UTC+3 VIENNA
The key disputed issue is still Tehran’s enrichment program
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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif


VIENNA, July 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Two weeks after the beginning of the July round of negotiations that was likely to become the final, Iran and the P5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) still have no agreement on the key issues of Tehran’s nuclear program. The diplomats and main negotiators now say things that seemed hardly probable at the beginning of the month - the parties may not have the time to agree on the final document by July 20 when the Geneva agreements expire.

Even the heads of the delegations and ministers, participating in the negotiations have stopped making forecasts. Thus, US Secretary of State John Kerry after three days of intensive consultations in Vienna said before the departure from the Austrian capital on Tuesday that there still were chances for reaching the agreement, but on arrival in the United States he would nevertheless discuss with President Barack Obama and Congress the issue of extending the negotiations.

Statements made by Iranian Foreign Minister Zavad Zarif were even less optimistic. He said the agreement would be “probably” reached. In addition, the Iranian diplomat said, Tehran had not decided whether Iran was ready to sit down at the negotiating table again after the specified date. “I still believe that we will manage by July 20, but this is only a probability,” he said. “On Sunday (July 20) we will decide if we can reach the agreement, whether we have outstanding issues and whether we should continue.”

As ITAR-TASS diplomatic sources had supposed before the beginning of the current consultations round, many on the homestretch will be decided in consultations between Iran and the United States. So far, the tone of statements by Kerry and Zarif does not indicate that there is serious progress in this sphere.

According to a diplomatic source in the Iranian delegation, the key disputed issue is still Tehran’s enrichment program. It was made clear to Iran in Vienna that 19 thousand centrifuges for enrichment is “too many,” Kerry told a news conference. He added that the US side had a realistic approach to the negotiations and so far had not found the right formula for guaranteeing the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program. There are different ways and Iran should choose how to move ahead.

And even saying that the United States recognise Iran’s right to a peaceful nuclear program within the framework of obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Kerry continues to insist that the Iranian nuclear dossier is not a fabricated matter. The issue of confidence building arose, because a secret program that was developed under the guise of operating enterprises was revealed, the enrichment levels were increasing, questions concerning its possible military component were emerging, the US secretary of state said.

Kerry added the US side wanted to get answers to all these questions.

Zafir said for his part on Tuesday that Iran would not abandon the goal to have a serious, but transparent enrichment program, meeting the country’s demands. He also noted that Tehran and Washington differed not only on the number of centrifuges. “There are many other possibilities for making weapons-grade fuel, and we discuss all these options, because our program is peaceful, we hide nothing,” he said.

Now that after the ministerial round all the four foreign ministers of the P5+1 that participated in it have left, the political directors and experts will again take the routine work on the text of the agreement. By the moment of the arrival in Vienna of all the ministers this weekend, the experts have the task to draft the document with the minimum number of “parentheses” - conclusions on which political decisions will be made by the ministers. They will say whether this would happen or not only on Sunday evening before the expiration of the previously agreed deadline.

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