Iran nuclear talks drag into day eight after all-nighter; envoys hopeful of deal
Weary negotiators hoped Thursday to see the light at the end of the tunnel after talking until dawn, but midway through an eighth day were still haggling over the outlines of a deal curtailing Iran’s nuclear program.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif talked through the night, going line by line over their differences in a bid to agree a framework for an accord to cut back Iran’s nuclear ambitions, diplomats close to the talks said.
They made “significant progress,” but there is no “final result yet,” Zarif told reporters early Thursday at the Swiss hotel hosting the negotiations, saying he felt “lucky” to have slept for two hours.
As German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier cancelled a planned trip to the Baltics to stay in Lausanne, Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi spoke of “lots of progress” and said that the “sunset is close.”
But as negotiators from the pow- ers, without Iran, after a break held a two-and-a-half hour meeting to review progress on Thursday morning, signs emerged that they were not in fact on the verge of a breakthrough.
“The conclusion is far from being imminent,” one Western diplomat said.