Solutions to nuclear issues at hand: Iran FM

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says solutions to outstanding nuclear issues with the P5+1 countries are at hand although differences still remain between the two sides.

“We are closer to a solution in some cases and it can therefore be said that solutions are at hand, but in some cases solutions are still elusive,” Zarif said after his five-hour meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Monday.

He added that it is necessary to negotiate with all sides until Friday to see the final results of the talks.

Asked whether a prospect has been considered for the removal of sanctions in his meeting with Kerry, the chief Iranian negotiator said, “There is a prospect for all issues.”

He noted that the outstanding issues pertaining to Tehran’s nuclear program, sanctions and a recent letter sent by a group of US Republican senators to Iran over an emerging nuclear deal were mainly discussed during his Monday meeting with Kerry.

The Iranian foreign minister said Tehran “regards the Congress letter as a political move” and emphasized that the US administration should brief Iran on its stance regarding the issue.

In an open letter to Iran on March 9, 47 Republican senators warned Tehran that any nuclear deal with President Barack Obama could last only as long as he is in office.

The US senators said any deal signed by the Obama administration must be approved by Congress or it could be reversed by next president after Obama leaves office in January 2017.

Progressive nuclear talks

Meanwhile, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said the Iranian and American negotiators have held progressive talks in Lausanne on Monday.

“During today’s session, technical issues and sanctions were discussed by the two sides,” Salehi added, emphasizing that certain issues still stand between the two sides and reaching a common point.

He noted that the two sides’ negotiators are making efforts to reach a general conclusion about the nuclear issue in the upcoming days.

Negotiations about the Iranian nuclear issue entered a critical phase on Monday with Zarif and Kerry meeting in a luxury hotel in Lausanne in another attempt to narrow gaps on the outstanding issues.

The new round of talks opened in the Swiss city on Sunday as the AEOI head and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz held high-level technical talks. Experts from Iran and the US as well as the AEOI spokesman, Behrouz Kamalvandi, were also present in the meeting.

After his Monday talks with Kerry, Zarif left for Brussels, Belgium, to discuss Iran’s nuclear issue with his German, French and UK counterparts, respectively, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Laurent Fabius and Philip Hammond. The Iranian minister, however, will return to Lausanne for more talks.

EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, is scheduled to host the Brussels talks “as part of the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran,” her office said in a statement last week.

Iran and the P5+1 countries – the United States, Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany – are seeking to seal a comprehensive nuclear deal by July 1.The two sides have already missed two self-imposed deadlines for inking a final agreement since they signed an interim one in the Swiss city of Geneva in November 2013.

By Press TV