Official: Talks with Iran Made Progress

Senior European diplomat says nuclear talks between Western powers and Iran have made progress, but some very difficult issues remain.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Nuclear talks in Geneva (archive)
Nuclear talks in Geneva (archive)

Nuclear talks between Western powers and Iran have made progress, but some very difficult issues remain, a senior European diplomat said on Friday, according to Reuters

According to the diplomat it is hard to tell if there can be a breakthrough when negotiations resume next week.

Iran and the six world powers are trying to turn an interim 2013 deal into a permanent agreement.

Under the interim deal, Iran committed to limit its uranium enrichment to five percent and is gradually winning access to $4.2 billion of its oil revenues frozen abroad and some other sanctions relief.

Talks to reach a permanent deal have continuously stalled and two deadlines for a final deal have been missed, with a third one looming on July 1 and an initial deal needing to be worked out by March 31.

The senior European diplomat, speaking to journalists on condition of anonymity, said on Friday, "We've really made progress, particularly in the last weeks, but there are still some very difficult issues."

It was impossible to tell if next week's talks would produce a breakthrough, the diplomat added.

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, suggested last week that a 10-year moratorium on some aspects of his country's nuclear program might be acceptable to Tehran, after President Barack Obama had said that Iran must commit to a verifiable freeze of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear activity for a landmark atomic deal to be reached between Tehran and six world powers.

"It depends on how you define it," Zarif said when asked about Obama’s comments. "If we have an agreement, we are prepared to accept certain limitations for a certain period of time but I'm not prepared to negotiate on the air."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)