Western diplomats: Nuclear talks with Iran likely to end Saturday without accord

Iranian FM: If no deal reached Saturday on nuclear program, talks with world powers to resume in coming week to 10 days.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
November 9, 2013 18:36
2 minute read.
Negotiators at Iran nuclear talks in Geneva, November 9, 2013.

Iran nuclear talks in Geneva November 9, 2013 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jean-Christophe Bott/Pool )

GENEVA - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that if no deal is reached with world powers on Saturday over Iran's nuclear program, talks could continue in a week to 10 days.

"There was a possibility, and perhaps it still exists, that if there are good intentions we can reach an agreed-upon text," Zarif told reporters in Geneva, where ministers from six major powers are negotiating with Iran.

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"If we reach a result by the end of today, it's reached. If not, the process will continue in one week or 10 days."

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the P5+1 powers on Saturday against missing an "exceptional opportunity" for an agreement on his country's nuclear program, AFP reported.

The West suspects that Iran is enriching uranium to develop nuclear weapons capability. Tehran denies this.

The Iranian president reiterated Tehran's claim that its nuclear program was not for military purposes.

"We want the world to know that our nuclear activities are solely for peaceful purposes, and that we're ready to address any rational concerns," he said on Twitter Saturday night.



"The negotiating sides should recognize that the current unique atmosphere was brought about by our people in our recent election," he added.

Barring a late breakthrough, Western diplomats said talks between Iran and six world powers on Tehran's nuclear program were likely to end on Saturday without an agreement, but were expected to resume in a few weeks.

"Clearly, efforts are still going on," one diplomat said.

Following a five-hour session on Friday, Zarif met for a second round of trilateral talks on Saturday afternoon with his US counterpart John Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to discuss the contents of a draft agreement on Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

Before going into talks with Kerry and Ashton, Zarif expressed reserve over the process.

“There has been some progress, but there is still a gap,” Iran's Fars news agency quoted him as saying to reporters in Geneva on Saturday.

Talks in Geneva hit a snag on their third day Saturday as France and Britain expressed doubt over the possibility of an agreement.

France said there was no certainty the talks would succeed because of major stumbling blocks over an initial proposed text on a deal, and the importance of Israel's security concerns.

"As I speak to you, I cannot say there is any certainty that we can conclude" the talks, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on France Inter radio, noting that France could not accept a "sucker's deal".

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the talks have achieved "very good progress" but important issues remained unresolved and he did not know whether a deal could be clinched by the end of the day.


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