European negotiator says framework accord with Iran unlikely soon

European negotiator says framework accord with Iran unlikely soon

Six world powers are unlikely to reach a framework agreement with Iran on its nuclear work in the coming days as the sides are still far apart on key issues, a senior European negotiator said on Thursday, blaming Tehran for failing to compromise, Reuters reported.

"Contrary to what the Iranians are saying with regard to 90 percent of an accord being done, that's not correct," the negotiator told reporters on condition of anonymity. "We are not close to an agreement."

President Barack Obama said in an Iranian New Year's message on Thursday to Iran's leaders and people that the two countries "have an historic opportunity to resolve this issue peacefully - an opportunity we should not miss."

Iran and six world powers are seeking a comprehensive agreement to curb Iran's most sensitive nuclear activities for at least 10 years in exchange for a gradual end to sanctions. The powers aim to complete the framework of a final deal by the end of March and reach a full agreement by June 30.

A senior U.S. State Department official on Thursday denied reports there was a draft nuclear deal in circulation among six world powers and Iran. An Iranian official echoed the denial. Several Western officials had privately spoken of a document with brackets highlighting areas of disagreement.

One major stumbling block is that Iran is pressing world powers to agree to start easing some restrictions on its atomic program earlier than Western countries are willing to accept, Western and Iranian officials said.

The current round of talks in Switzerland may need to continue beyond Friday, the State Department official said.

"We are pretty far away. There are a lot of issues that still need to be resolved. The Iranians must make substantial concessions," the European negotiator said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the sides were working on difficult issues.

"We're pushing some tough issues but we made progress," Kerry told reporters, adding that it was unclear when the U.S. delegation would return to Washington.

In Washington, a senior Treasury official said the Obama administration would work with Congress to impose further sanctions on Iran if a nuclear deal is not reached.

U.S. lawmakers have been concerned the White House would cut Congress out of any deal, and would treat Iran too lightly.

Obama, noting opposition in both countries to an agreement, said in his message to Iranians: "Together, we have to speak up for the future we seek," and added: "This year, we have the best opportunity in decades to pursue a different future between our countries."

Despite the gaps between the two sides in Lausanne, there have been some areas of rough agreement. One of the central issues under discussion from the beginning was the number of centrifuges Iran would be permitted to operate. Western officials have said that number of would likely be around 6,000 if an agreement is reached.

Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who is close to Iran's Supreme Leader, said on Tuesday that an accord was 90 percent agreed with only one issue unresolved.

Highlighting tensions after five days of talks, Salehi and Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif were captured by a Reuters photographer in a heated argument on the lawns of the luxury hotel overlooking the French Alps.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hamid Baidinejad confirmed there were a number of sticking points.

"Contrary to what many think, that we are only discussing one issue, it is not correct," he told reporters. "We are discussing many issues and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."

He cited research and development into centrifuges as a sticking point.

"We are still discussing R&D along with other issues, technical and political issues," he said.

U.S. and European officials worry that Iranian research into more advanced centrifuges, the machines that purify uranium for use as fuel for reactors or, if very highly enriched, in bombs, could give it the capability to quickly produce an atomic arsenal. Tehran denies harboring any such ambitions.

The European negotiator said that if Iran does not give in on this issue, there will be no nuclear deal at all.

Western officials said the duration of a deal was also an unresolved point.

Obama told Reuters in an interview this month that Iran would have to accept limits on its nuclear activities for at least 10 years under any deal.

France is pushing for at least 15 years for the agreement, followed by a 10-year period of intense monitoring by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency the European negotiator said.

Western officials said the United States was also pushing for restrictions on sensitive nuclear work by Tehran to be in place for more than a decade.

One diplomat, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's electoral win earlier this week, said French negotiators had again adopted a tougher stance.

Another major stumbling block is Iran's demand that all U.N. Security Council sanctions, including those targeting its nuclear program, be lifted immediately.

"They insist they have to go immediately. No way. It is out of the question," said the negotiator.

The United States has been calling for a written political agreement to be signed by the end of March. But Iran has rejected the idea of a written interim deal before a final deal by June 30.

Kazakhstan KazMunayGas sees decrease in oil production at major fields
Kazakhstan KazMunayGas sees decrease in oil production at major fields
Global oil consumption set to rise by over 2 mb/d in Q2
Global oil consumption set to rise by over 2 mb/d in Q2
EIA expects Brent price to decrease in second quarter
EIA expects Brent price to decrease in second quarter
Loading Bars
Latest
US looking to jointly produce Johnson & Johnson's single-dose Covid vaccine in India, talks on with SII
India's focus must be how to come out of current COVID crisis, says Canadian Envoy
Import of Azerbaijani products by Belarus up in 1Q2021
Kazakhstan KazMunayGas sees decrease in oil production at major fields
New Covid-19 cases in India have peaked, shows Cambridge tracker
US Working Closely With India On Covid Crisis: White House Official
Egypt Sends 30 Tonnes Of Covid Medical Aid To India
Pm Modi, Boris Johnson To Hold Virtual Summit, Uk To Ship 1000 More Ventilators To India
Azerbaijan - unique space where there is interreligious harmony, cooperation, says Azerbaijani president
Global oil consumption set to rise by over 2 mb/d in Q2
EIA expects Brent price to decrease in second quarter
UK warns on sustainability of post-Brexit N.Ireland trade rules
LNG shipments from Qatar to UAE to resume, signalling improving ties
Oil & gas contracts down in number, rise in value
EIA revises down forecasts for Azerbaijan’s petroleum production
U.S. east coast to rely on petroleum inventories before main pipeline operation resumes
Austria, Georgia eye to implement projects in animal husbandry
WB to allocate Kyrgyzstan $ 20 mln to purchase coronavirus vaccines
Immunization with Sinovac in Georgia likely to begin in May
Iran-Pakistan border markets to be functional in few months
Cyberattack steals info of one million in Turkey’s Konya
Border police deployed in some Israeli cities amid Arab riots
Pipeline outage causes U.S. gasoline supply crunch, panic buying
Global renewable energy growth over 20 years peaks in 2020 - IEA
South Korea mulls commercial use of Northern Sea Route
Bahrain approves emergency use of Russia’s Sputnik Light vaccine — agency
Forum in New Zealand focuses on New Zealand-China economic cooperation, development opportunities
WHO head claims as global COVID cases drop to 630,000 per day
US Department of Energy retains forecast for Brent oil price at $62.3 per barrel in 2021
Samsung sees pandemic-led appliances boom extending run to rest of year
Next meeting on electoral reform to be held on May 14-16
Central Bank of Azerbaijan allocates funds to support financial literacy
Turkish State Mine Administration opens tender for rental of vehicles
Lending to electricity sector in Azerbaijan increases
Kazakh KazMunayTeniz to buy diesel fuel via tender
Iran's Petropars Company orders equipment from local manufacturers
Turkey reports over 14 400 COVID-19 cases
Some of children may be taken to Moscow for treatment after school shooting in Kazan
UN chief condemns Kazan school shooting
Gaza block collapses after Israeli strike, rocket hits Tel Aviv building
Kazakhstan supports solution of Palestinian-Israel conflict by peaceful means
Georgia likely to receive Novavax and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in July
Kazakhstan’s liquids production down in March - OPEC
COVID-19 cases decrease in 80 provinces in a week
Iran, Afghanistan discuss Afghan peace process
Israeli PM says to increase strikes against Gaza militants
Arab FMs kick off emergency meeting on Jerusalem tensions
Hamas and Israel step up attacks as Jerusalem unrest ignites Gaza
No need to evacuate people injured in Kazan school shooting to Moscow
Сompetition season of 2021 successfully started - European Gymnastics President
Identification of victims in Kazan school shooting completed
26 COVID-19 patients dead allegedly due to oxygen shortage in India's Goa
Japan's COVID-19 patients in "serious condition" hit fresh record high
Azerbaijani president, first lady express condolences to president of Tatarstan
President Aliyev expresses condolences to Russian counterpart
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on May 12
Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to rise in Iran
Foreign investors waiting for decision related to FATF in Iran – official
Azerbaijani journalists view State Border Service's Military Hospital in liberated Gubadly (PHOTO)
Demand for OPEC crude in 2021 revised up
Turkish export of electrical goods to Azerbaijan drops
Shares of Kazakhstan's KAZ Minerals delisted from stock exchange
Export Development Bank of Iran to provide loans to startup companies
Data on cargo shipment through Turkish Kocaeli port over 1Q2021 revealed
Kazakhstan reports increase in new housing prices
Azerbaijan's ADIF continues compensating depositors of closed banks
Turkey sees increase in cement exports to Georgia
Cargo movements in Iran’s Shahid Rajaee port increase
OPEC marks increase in Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil exports
Guaranteed wheat purchasing from farmers in Iran continues
Iran to inaugurate new airport in Kurdistan Province
Iran to build new factory at Amirabad port
OPEC revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s liquids supplies in 2021
Azerbaijan reveals number of vaccinated citizens for May 11
Azerbaijan confirms 514 more COVID-19 cases, 1,306 recoveries
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for May 11
Iran’s PMO unveils volume of cargo transportation via Abadan Port
Iran shares unemployment data
Georgia export to Germany increased by 40%
Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan eye accelerating implementation of roadmap for industrial co-op
FDA to attract funds to support reforms in Uzbekistan
Uzbek-Chinese JV opens tender for spares for gas pumping units
Iran starts mass production of coronavirus vaccine
Russia boosts steel imports from Turkey
Volume of cargo shipment via Turkish Karabiga port in 1Q2021 revealed
Renewables to account for 90% of total global power capacity increases in 2021-2022
Annual renewable capacity additions reach highest level since 1999
Oil dips as pipeline outage fears ease, India weighs
First batch of Sputnik V vaccine arrived in Azerbaijan just a few days ago, more significant shipments expected later this month - Russian FM
Statements reeking of revanchism, are very dangerous, first of all for Armenian side - President Aliyev
Restriction on movement likely to ease in late May in Georgia
Since end of hostilities, we transferred all prisoners of war - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan shows goodwill in matters related to humanitarian issues - President Aliyev
Post-conflict situation, of course, dictates need for closer contacts at all levels - President Aliyev
Heroization of Nazism in all its forms - unacceptable - Azerbaijan FM
Gaza escalation weighs on shekel
Issue of unblocking transport in region must be prioritized - Azerbaijani FM
Humanitarian issues must be resolved as quickly as possible - Russian FM
Russian FM notes key factor in normalizing situation in Karabakh
Russia highly appreciates work of trilateral group of deputy prime ministers of three countries - Russian FM
All news