Negotiations in Vienna Reach the Final Stretch
Diplomats in Vienna said talks have advanced to the final stages as representatives from Iran, U.S. and E.U. worked until 3 a.m. Saturday morning. One anonymous Western diplomat told reporters that “it feels like the end” with details being resolved both in the main text and appendices. Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed that the text and appendices were 91% finished, but he declined to make predictions about when a deal could be reached. However, he told a Russian news agency that “all parties are of the opinion that this matter will be resolved in the coming days.”
Other negotiators said that while they have made progress, more work remains. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry observed that teams were working “very diligently all day” with “a great sense of purpose” to reach a final nuclear deal. Another senior Obama administration official noted that a number of tough issues remained which only foreign ministers and other chief negotiators could resolve. All of the P5+1 and Iran’s top negotiators will return to Vienna Sunday, two days before the July 7 deadline.
IAEA Chief and Iran Discuss Inspections, Possible Military Dimensions
U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Yukiya Amano met with Iranian officials to discuss possible military dimensions of the country’s nuclear program. Amano said that a discussion with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani led to a “better understanding on some ways forward” but added that “more work will be needed” to reach a final agreement. During the meeting, Rouhani reportedly told Amano that Iran should be treated like other signatories to the U.N. Non-Proliferation Treaty and not be subjected to “discrimination” in the form of additional inspections.
After the meeting, Abbas Araqchi, a senior Iranian negotiators, called the meeting “successful” and told reporters that Iran is ready to cooperate with IAEA on the issue and prove that its nuclear program is peace. Reza Nahafi, Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA, said the two sides reached a “common understanding” about the time framework for cooperation and will hold meetings this weekend to settle details.
P5+1 negotiators say they are not demanding a public confession from Iran, but they do want the IAEA to know the full scope of Iran’s past nuclear activity so it can effectively monitor Iran’s nuclear program moving forward.
Iran Officials Accuse Western Powers of Bullying, Suggests Future Cooperation
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif complained
in a Youtube video Friday about the P5+1’s “coercive” negotiating tactics. He criticized past sanctions and military threats and said that the P5+1 countries “need to make a critical and historical choice: agreement or coercion.” In the same video, Zarif added that Iran could help Western nations tackle what he called greater threats in the Middle East like the Islamic State military group.