Talks between Iran and the P5+1 in Vienna on Iran’s nuclear programme have been extended beyond the June 30th deadline, indicating that important differences remain over key details of the emerging agreement. The marathon talks have been extended until July 7th.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: “There is going to have to be some give or take if we are to get this done in the next few days”.
He added: “There are a number of different areas where we still have major differences of interpretation in detailing what was agreed at Lausanne.”
The comments came as Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif returned to Tehran for consultations with political leaders there.
There have been continued disagreements on core elements of the emerging agreement, including Iran’s use of advanced centrifuges, the pace of which sanctions will be lifted, and the access that international inspectors will have to Iran’s nuclear facilities, especially military sites.
Last week, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei laid out a series of red lines for an agreement to be reached, rejecting key terms of a proposed nuclear deal, and ruling out freezing sensitive nuclear Research and Development for 10-12 years ahead.
A key demand of the P5+1 as set out in the framework to a comprehensive nuclear deal agreed in April is Iran’s commitment to a verifiable halt of at least 10 years on the country’s sensitive nuclear R&D.
Addressing the issue of critical international inspections at military sites, which the international community suspects are being used to aid a nuclear armament programme, Khamenei said, “inspection of our military sites is out of the question and is one of our red lines”.
On the subject of sanctions, Ayatollah Khamenei demanded that “all financial and economic sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, the U.S. Congress or the U.S. Government should be lifted immediately” upon the signing of a deal.