Renewed Push for Progress After Tough Talks

Renewed Push for Progress After Tough TalksRenewed Push for Progress After Tough Talks

Senior officials of Iran and the major powers started a new round of nuclear talks in Oman on Tuesday to push for progress in international diplomacy on Iran's nuclear standoff.

The Muscat talks followed trilateral discussions between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, his US counterpart and EU envoy which were held in the Omani capital on Sunday and Monday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi described the meetings between Zarif, US Secretary of State John Kerry and former European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton as "two days of very hard work," adding that reaching an agreement by the November 24 target date is a "very tough job" but we remain "optimistic", IRNA reported.  

The senior negotiator said, "We are still not in a position to claim that progress is achieved, although I cannot say that it was no good, either.

"Every dimension of the negotiations, over any particular topic, has many side issues and technical, legal and political complications."

He added among the major issues of discussions were the "two key issues of enrichment and the speed of lifting anti-Iran sanctions" and all sides tried to present specific solutions to the issues.   

Iran wants sanctions lifted immediately after an agreement is struck, however the West says it is more likely the sanctions would be eased gradually as Tehran meets commitments under a final nuclear deal.

The West has claimed that Iran may have been seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program. Tehran denies the allegation, saying its nuclear work is meant only for peaceful purposes, such as power generation.

****More Work to Do   

In Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the tree-way talks were "tough, direct and serious," Reuters reported on Tuesday.  

A senior State Department official also said, "There's more work to do, clearly," before a compromise can be reached.


Representatives from Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) will meet again on November 18 in Vienna to make a last-ditch effort to strike a deal.  

Tehran and its negotiating partners are trying to build on an interim accord they reached in Geneva last November to work out a long-term settlement to the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program, which would impose temporary constraints on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the phasing-out of sanctions.