Friday, 21 November 2014

Iran nuclear talks to resume in Vienna

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US secretary of state and Iranian foreign minister set for new rounds of talks on Friday as Monday deadline looms.


US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's foreign minister are set to begin a new session of nuclear talks in Vienna just four days before a deadline for a deal.

A 90-minute meeting earlier on Friday afternoon between Kerry and Mohammad Javad Zarif was described by the parties as "tense" and "sombre". Another session is set to be held later in the day.

Earlier reports had said that Zarif was flying back to Tehran for consultations and that Kerry would be heading to Paris to consult with his European counterparts.

"Earlier this afternoon, it looked as though the talks had reached a point beyond which they can go no further," Al Jazeera's Jonah Hall, reporting from the Austrian capital, said. "But it seems that there is a bit of momentum back in these talks."

Diplomats told the Reuters news agency that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond had left the talks after arriving earlier in the day.

Hammond told reporters that "we have a long way to go if we are to get to a deal before the deadline".

Expectations were growing that the Monday deadline for a full deal will be missed because of differences on how much Iran needs to reduce the size and scope of key parts of its nuclear programme.

Both the Iranians and the six world powers negotiating with them must decide whether to go beyond Monday or adjourn to a later date.

Officials from the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany are seeking to reduce the potency of Iran's nuclear programme and slow its technical ability to produce atomic weapons.

Tehran denies charges that it wishes to manufacture a nuclear weapon.

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