Kerry, ministers to join Iran nuclear talks in Vienna: official

PRAGUE Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:18pm EDT

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pauses as he speaks during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in the International Zone in Baghdad June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pauses as he speaks during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in the International Zone in Baghdad June 23, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan Smialowski/Pool

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PRAGUE (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers from the six powers negotiating with Iran on its nuclear programme will travel to Vienna this weekend to help break the logjam in the talks, a senior Western official said on Thursday.

"I can tell you that Kerry will be in Vienna this weekend, probably on Saturday," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Kerry has scheduled bilateral meetings with fellow ministers on Sunday, he said. Another diplomat confirmed the travel plans.

A French diplomatic source said Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius would arrive on Sunday for the talks.

Iran and the powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China - aim to reach a long-term deal to end the decade-old nuclear standoff by a July 20 deadline. Many diplomats and analysts believe an extension may be needed in view of the wide gaps in negotiating positions.

Earlier this week, diplomats close to the talks said the ministers may end up negotiating the terms of an extension while in Vienna. The goal is to reach a deal under which Iran would curb its nuclear programme in exchange for a gradual lifting of sanctions.

The talks resumed last week with still no sign of substantive progress on the main sticking points, which include uranium enrichment, the length of any agreement and the speed at which sanctions would be lifted.

SIDE GAPS

The Western official said it was unlikely they were going to Vienna to sign an agreement, given the significant differences between the parties on the acceptable scope of Tehran's future uranium enrichment programme.

Another Western diplomat said: "Things have been moving but there are still wide gaps and they need to be narrowed down. This is what needs to happen in the next days."

French officials have said that Fabius was reluctant to go to Vienna until closer to the July 20 deadline unless there was a clear sign of a breakthrough.

"Major differences remain and it was felt that mid-July was too soon as there is still a lot of work, but since the start of the week there has been a desire from some powers to hold a ministerial meeting," said one official.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday the ongoing round of talks was tough but expressed hope that reaching a deal by the deadline was possible.

"The discussions are extremely difficult but on the face of it there is some progress," Russian spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told a news conference.

"We hope to work out a final text of the agreement - despite all the difficulties - by the July 20 deadline."

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday Iran would need to boost its uranium enrichment capacity in the long term, underlining a gap in positions but possibly signalling some flexibility in the short term.

(Additional reporting by Justyna Pawlak in Brussels, Gabriela Baczynska in Moscow, Fredrik Dahl in Vienna and John Irish in Paris; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (3)
sabrefencer wrote:
Kerry talks and talks, the Irans laugh and laugh and march every second, of every day, towards nukes and the systems to deliver them,..only way a deal will ever be signed, if Kerry gives everything away so he can tout a success, to his so farm miserable performance as secretary of obamas’ state….

Jul 10, 2014 11:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Dhirajkunar wrote:
Why arent they (P5+1) bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities and solve the problem? The same idiots warned Iran sometime back that Iran would be struck. They even paraded 2 aircraft carriers and conducted fearsome military exercises on the Persian Gulf hoping the Iranians will run to the loo and surrender. On the contrary, Iran threatened to bomb the sitting ducks and destroy the 6000 people on board each carrier and turn the nuclear powered ships into a Chernobyl/Fukushima in the center of the Persian Gulf for the whole world to see. Probably America matured after this incident and there are no such ships today in the Persian Gulf threatening Iran. There was crippling job cuts too in the forces too. The motive behind this message is to show what a world scale bluff it was to attack Iran. The lesson America learnt was never again threaten Iran with attacks. Ukraine has shown America its place in the world. Attack in Iran may well be designated as the biggest bluff of the 21st century.

Jul 10, 2014 1:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BanglaFirst wrote:
Let us pray and hope that there is a comprehensive agreement as there are great many opportunities for construction companies, banks,aircraft manufacturers etc. It would be boon time for World Economy and Iran.

Jul 10, 2014 9:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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