Nuclear Meeting in Istanbul “Promising”
A senior nuclear negotiator said the Istanbul talks with France, Germany and Britain on Iran's nuclear program were "promising", but more work was needed to narrow differences to help settle the 12-year nuclear standoff.
Speaking after the end of the talks with political directors from the three European countries on Thursday, Abbas Araqchi said, "The talks were very useful, positive and promising but still we are not in a position to say we made progress," Fars news agency reported.
The eight-hour talks in Istanbul were part of efforts to reach a framework accord that sets key parameters of a comprehensive deal by March 31 and a final agreement by June 30 that completes the detailed technical aspects.
The diplomat said the "marathon" nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) are not easy due to divisions among the six powers.
He underlined that if the other side has "realism", "good will" and "strong political will," the chances of breakthrough are not very far-fetched.
Araqchi went on to say that a wide range of issues were discussed in the talks. "The other party should make extensive efforts to remove impediments to the lifting of sanctions … and we are discussing these issues as well."
The future scope of Iran's uranium enrichment capacity and the speed at which the sanctions would be lifted are among the thorniest issues in the talks.
Under a Nov. 24, 2013 preliminary accord between Iran and the P5+1, Tehran agreed to temporarily halt parts of its enrichment program in return for the easing of sanctions against the country until a final deal is worked out.