Zarif Upbeat as Nuclear Talks Resume

Zarif Upbeat as Nuclear Talks ResumeZarif Upbeat as Nuclear Talks Resume

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said it is possible to reach a nuclear deal if the negotiating parties have the required "political will".

The chief nuclear negotiator made the remarks just ahead of a new round of nuclear talks between Iran, the US and the EU, which started in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Sunday, IRNA reported.   

"In my view, if the other side has political will like the Islamic Republic of Iran, it will not be difficult to arrive at solutions," Zarif said, adding, "Over the next few days, we should try to reach agreement on solutions as much as possible and the solutions should be written down in detail so that we can reach the phase of drafting the (final) agreement."

"It should be borne in mind that coming up with solutions does not mean reaching a comprehensive agreement," he noted.    

Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Ali Akbar Salehi, EU political director Helga Schmid, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman are present at the Lausanne talks, which are chaired by Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Zarif will leave the Swiss city today for a short visit to Brussels to attend a nuclear meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of the European members of the P5+1 (the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany). He will return to Lausanne on Tuesday to join the talks with the US and the EU.

Iran and its international negotiating partners are trying to work out the framework of a long-term settlement to the 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear program until the end of this month with a view to sealing a final deal by a self-imposed June 30 deadline.

  Kerry Hopeful

Kerry also said on Saturday he hoped "in the next days" it would be possible to reach a preliminary agreement with Iran if Tehran can show that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, Reuters reported.

Iran denies the allegation that it may be seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian program, saying the program is meant only for peaceful purposes, including generating electricity.  

Speaking on the eve of fresh talks with Iran, Kerry appeared more upbeat about the possibility of a framework agreement by the end-March target date. Earlier on Saturday he told a news conference on the sidelines of a conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh that it was unclear whether a general agreement was within reach.

"We believe very much that there's not anything that's going to change in April or May or June that suggests that at that time a decision you can't make now will be made then," Kerry told CBS News. "If it's peaceful, let's get it done. And my hope is that in the next days that will be possible," he added.