Talks on Iran nuclear program at 'standstill,' deadline might be extended – source
"Progress has practically come to a standstill and there is a risk that the deadline will be extended again," a diplomatic source told the TASS news agency on Friday, after discussions ended for the day.
Delegations from Iran and the so-called P5+1 group (five permanent members of UN Security Council - the US, Britain, France, Russia, and China - plus Germany) planned to discuss several disputable issues and agree upon the dates of foreign ministers' participation. They had a number of plenary and bilateral talks on Friday in the Austrian capital.
But negotiators failed to achieve any considerable progress, "and there is no final clarity regarding the ministers' arrivals," the source said.
On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, who is Moscow's top nuclear negotiator in Vienna, said that pace of talks has slowed.
"We've been discussing the very same things we've already discussed many times before... They remain unsolved... It worries us more," Ryabkov told journalists, adding, "The pace of the talks has been slowing down over the past weeks."
While negotiators continue working on a deal to ensure the peaceful nature of Tehran's nuclear program, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that cooperation between Iran and Russia is needed more than ever.
"In the current situation in the region and the world, and taking into account the solidarity of the two countries' views on many issues, strong cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia is now necessary more than ever before," the Iranian leader said in his message to President Vladimir Putin, as quoted by TASS. The message was sent on Friday in connection with Russia Day, the state holiday marked on June 12.
Iran seems to be more optimistic regarding the talks, as it believes a final deal between Tehran and the six world powers could be reached before the June 30 deadline. The early forecast was given to journalists by Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi after an agency board meeting in Vienna on Thursday.
Iran and the P5+1 group reached a preliminary deal on April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, which was seen as a significant step towards rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. The US still has a set of demands, insisting that Iran implement nuclear transparency measures in exchange for sanctions relief.
The parties are seeking a final agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program by the end of this month, however several diplomats connected to the talks have named July 9 as a more realistic date, AP reported.