A fresh round of nuclear talks between Iran and six major world powers that began on May 14 in the Austrian capital resumed on May 16 for the third day in a row as diplomats from both sides seek to hammer out a final deal on Tehran's disputed nuclear program.
The third day of talks began with separate bilateral meetings between the Iranian team of nuclear negotiators and the European members of the P5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany), Iran's Tasnim news agency reported on May 16.
Afterwards, the Iranians are planned to hold a bilateral meeting with the US delegation as well. The meetings are taking place at the level of deputies.
In the meantime, a senior member of the Iranian team said on May 15 that the nuclear discussions are advancing in a good atmosphere but progress is "slow and difficult".
Speaking to Tasnim, Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi also said it is "unlikely" that the talks will stretch into Saturday. He explained that the parties are negotiating "in a good atmosphere".
His comments came immediately after a bilateral meeting between Iranian foreign minister and top nuclear negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, who coordinates diplomacy with Iran on behalf of the six nations.
This is the fourth round of marathon talks in Vienna after the parties inked a six-month deal on Tehran's nuclear activities in Switzerland on November 24, 2013.
The interim deal (the Joint Plan of Action), which has come into force since January 20, stipulates that over the course of six months, Iran and the six countries will draw up a comprehensive nuclear deal which will lead to a lifting of the whole sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The U.S. and its Western allies suspect Iran of developing a nuclear weapon - something that Iran denies. The Islamic Republic has on numerous occasions stated that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, using nuclear energy for medical research instead.