Official says US is not certain a deal can be reached, likeliest course is an extension of November deadline
A senior Israeli official says that after months of negotiations, there has not been any agreement achieved between Iran and world powers on any of the contentious issues regarding the Iranian nuclear program.
“There is no agreement on any of the topics on the table,” the official told i24news, speaking on condition of anonymity. Among the outstanding issues which he listed are Iran’s enrichment capabilities, its heavy water plant at Arak, the Fordow uranium enrichment facility, the capability of Iran’s long-range missiles, a regime of verification and inspection, and more.
On Nov. 24, 2013, the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany – a group known as the P5+1 – reached an interim agreement with Iran in Geneva. It led to six-month freeze on Iran’s nuclear program and a partial rollback of Western economic sanctions on Iran. The interim agreement was extended in July until Nov. 24.
“The United States is not certain an Iran nuclear deal is achievable. After the last round of talks in New York, members of the P5+1 estimate that many of the gaps are not closing,” he added. “The Americans are the ones currently running the talks – they are eager to reach a deal but not at any price and there are no indications of Iranian flexibility.”
The issue was discussed at length in the Oct. 1 White House meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, the official said.
According to Israel’s assessment, none of the sides want the talks to break down and therefore an extension of the current Nov. 24 deadline is the likeliest course.
On Friday, one of Iran’s top nuclear negotiators signaled that this was the plan.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi said there was already acceptance that a November 24 deadline could be missed.
“Time passes quickly, we are not still disappointed but if we cannot get a good enough result from this round of talks, it is obvious that we will not reach an agreement by November 24,” he said.
“Everything is possible even to extend the talks,” he added, noting that Iran “expected some progress” during discussions on the issue in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month.
The sides will meet next week in Vienna for another round of talks which will center on the two biggest areas of contention, Iran’s enrichment of uranium and the lifting of US, European and UN sanctions imposed on Iran in recent years, Araqchi said.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in September that progress had been “extremely slow,” a sentiment matched by a senior U.S. State Department official who described “very, very difficult understandings” negotiators had yet to reach.
By i24 News
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