Moscow says Iran talks 'virtually stalled,' Washington declines to confirm
Latest round of discussions in Vienna on Friday made no significant progress, source from one of the missions was quoted as saying.
MOSCOW/WASHINGTON - Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers have virtually stalled and a deadline for a final deal may have to be postponed again, Russian news agency TASS quoted a diplomatic source as saying on Friday.Iran and the powers – the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – reached a framework deal on April 2 in Switzerland and are seeking to strike a broader settlement by June 30 under which Iran would curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.The latest round of discussions in Vienna on Friday made no significant progress, the source from one of the missions said, according to TASS."The process has virtually stalled, there is risk the deadline will have to be postponed again," the source added.Over the last several weeks, in the lead-up to the talks, the Obama administration has recommitted itself to the June 30 deadline.More time will not make the political decisions required for a deal any easier, US officials say.The White House is also keenly aware of several other pressures on the deadline. Its chief negotiator, Wendy Sherman, is scheduled to step down from the State Department at the end of the month; and a new bipartisan law grants Congress double the time to review and vote on any deal should negotiations extend beyond July 10.Advertisement"I'm not going to characterize the current state of the talks," Jeff Rathke, a State Department spokesman, said in response to the comments from Moscow on Friday. "We've said all along that we're not going to negotiate in public.""We remain of the view that it is possible to conclude the talks by June 30," Rathke continued. "That remains our focus."Michael Wilner contributed to this report.
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