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AEOI chief: 90 percent of Iran-US technical differences resolved

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi

TEHRAN (FNA)- Tehran and Washington have overcome their differences on technical issues with regard to Iran’s nuclear program in most of the cases, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi announced on Tuesday, adding that both sides are now trying to resolve the remaining technical problems.

“We have agreed on 90 percent of technical issues,” Salehi said after his second meeting with US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Tuesday.

“There has only remained one very important point of difference that we will try to resolve in the evening talks,” he added.

Meantime, a senior US official said that Iran and the major world powers have been making headway in identifying technical options for a nuclear deal as an end-March deadline nears but difficult issues must still be addressed.

“We have definitely made progress in terms of identifying technical options for each of the major areas,” the US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters in Lausanne on Tuesday.

On Monday, Zarif and his US counterpart John Kerry held discussions for five hours in Lausanne. The meeting was also attended by Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian Foreign Minister’s deputies Seyed Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi and President Rouhani’s Special Aide Hossein Fereidoun as well as US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman.

Iran’s team of nuclear negotiators, headed by Zarif, arrived in Lausanne on Sunday.

The new round of talks is expected to end on March 20.

Iran and the G5+1 are negotiating to narrow their differences over Tehran’s nuclear energy program ahead of a July 1 deadline.

Iranian and American teams of negotiators held several days of talks in Geneva late in February. Then Zarif, Salehi and Fereidoun as well as Kerry and Moniz joined their deputies two days after the start of the talks.

Zarif, then, traveled to Montreux in western Switzerland two weeks ago for another three days of nuclear talks with Kerry.

Representatives of Iran and the G5+1 also had deputy-level negotiations in Montreux following the Zarif-Kerry meeting.

Both Iran and the G5+1 negotiators have underlined that cutting a final deal before the July 10 deadline is possible.

In relevant remarks earlier this month, Zarif said there was still a good chance for the success of the nuclear talks between Tehran and the world powers, but meantime underlined that failure of the negotiations would never mean the end of world to Iran.

“There is still an over 50-percent chance for the attainment of an agreement and I feel that both sides believe that success and attainment of an agreement will be much better and useful than failure in the negotiations; yet, failure in reaching an understanding will not be the end of the world but both sides have spent their time and political prestige in the success of these talks,” Zarif said in an interview.

He stressed that the chances for the failure of the talks would be alive as long as agreement was not attained on all issues and details, and said, “As it was said in the Geneva agreement (November 2013), as long as an agreement is not made on all issues, nothing has been agreed on.”

Asked about the removal of the sanctions against Iran, Zarif said, “Removal of the UN Security Council sanctions aren’t complicated and merely depends on the political will (of the other side).”

By Fars News Agency