Publication Date : Sunday 23 November 2014 14:18
Iran, US, EU negotiators set for nuclear meeting
Top negotiators of Iran, the US and the EU are scheduled to hold another trilateral meeting ahead of the Monday deadline for Tehran and the P5+1 group of world powers to ink a final nuclear deal.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, his US counterpart John Kerry and EU nuclear negotiator Catherine Ashton are slated to meet at Vienna’s Coburg Hotel on Sunday before noon.
Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi are holding talks with delegates from China and the US as well as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Ashton’s deputy Helga Schmid.
On Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will also head to the Austrian capital to join the nuclear negotiations.
The parties have been holding talks in Vienna over the past six days to hammer out a comprehensive deal on Tehran’s nuclear energy program. Diplomats say the two sides have made progress but big gaps still remain.
Last November, Iran and the P5+1 – Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany -- clinched an interim nuclear accord that took effect on January 20 and expired six months later. They agreed to extend their talks until November 24 as they remained divided on a number of key issues.
Sources close to the Iranian negotiating team say the main stumbling block in the way of resolving the Western dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program remains to be the removal of all the bans imposed on the country, and not the number of centrifuges or the level of uranium enrichment.
Tehran wants the sanctions entirely lifted while Washington, under pressure from the pro-Israeli lobby, insists that at least the UN-imposed sanctions should remain in place.