Tags: nuclear | talks | Vienna | Kerry

Kerry, Zarif Drop Plans to Leave Vienna as Iran Talks Heat Up

Friday, 21 November 2014 03:30 PM

Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif reversed plans to leave Vienna amid last-ditch negotiations to salvage a nuclear accord.

Kerry, who had announced he’d fly to Paris for “consultations with his European counterparts,” now plans to stay in the Austrian capital as talks continued into the evening, according to spokeswoman Jen Psaki. After reports in local media that Zarif would probably return home to speak with his country’s leaders, the foreign minister told Iranian journalists that not enough progress had been made to warrant the trip.

The reversal underscores the high stakes and shrinking time frame as world powers seek to reach a deal with Iran before a self-imposed deadline on Nov. 24. The diplomats are still haggling, with Iran’s nuclear capacity and the pace at which sanctions would be lifted remaining as the key sticking points.

“We have to get more flexibility from the Iranians,” U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said today in Vienna before meeting Kerry. “We are prepared to show some flexibility on our side. But time is short.”

An accord already exists in draft version, containing a four- or five-page introduction followed by 30 to 40 pages of details, according to a senior Iranian diplomat cited yesterday by the Islamic Student news Agency.

‘All the Elements’

“All the elements of an agreement are already on the table, and the task of diplomats now is to correctly put together a package,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today in Moscow, predicting that “common sense” will prevail and a compromise will be reached.

If that doesn’t happen by Nov. 24, negotiations may be extended, though there’s a risk that opponents of the talks in both Iran and the U.S. may then derail the process.

While negotiators have said they remained focused on meeting their deadline, four Western diplomats said yesterday that an extension may be needed.

Iran has signaled it’s willing to continue allowing intrusive international inspections of its nuclear facilities even if there’s no deal this weekend, three of the officials said. The U.S. is “committed to pause” its efforts to reduce Iranian oil sales under the interim accord that’s currently due to expire on Nov. 24, the White House said in a statement today.

The 11-year conflict over Iran’s nuclear program has cast the shadow of war over the Persian Gulf nation with the world’s No. 4 oil reserves. Israel and the U.S. have threatened military action to stop the Islamic Republic from acquiring an atomic weapon. Iran, which says its program is solely for energy and medical purposes, has seen its economy squeezed and oil output slashed under sanctions.

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Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif reversed plans to leave Vienna amid last-ditch negotiations to salvage a nuclear accord.Kerry, who had announced he'd fly to Paris for "consultations with his European counterparts," now plans to...
nuclear, talks, Vienna, Kerry
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2014-30-21
Friday, 21 November 2014 03:30 PM
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