Iran nuclear talks: tangible progress but gaps on key issues remain

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Iran nuclear talks: tangible progress but gaps on key issues remain

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US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif have met on the sidelines of talks in Vienna between six world powers and Iran on its nuclear programme.

Both sides have high expectations of reaching an agreement during the next five days of discussions.

However Zarif has suggested that all parties are open to extending the discussions, if necessary.

“The talks have been interesting. Now Washington needs to take a political decision…to end the deadlock…and to find a solution to this crisis and a common way forward,” said the Iranian Foreign Minister.

Meanwhile the US Secretary of State says Iran can not expect to maintain its number of nuclear enrichment centrifuges.

“There has been tangible progress on key issues. And we had extensive conversations, in which we moved on certain things,” said Kerry, adding that, “there are also very real gaps on other key issues. We have made it crystal clear that the 19,000 [centrifuges] that are currently part of their programme is too many.”

The six world powers — US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — and Iran want to bridge big differences in a deal to reduce Iran’s nuclear programme, in exchange for sanctions relief.

Iran says its atomic fuel-making capacity is for peaceful energy purposes.