Iran nu­clear talks still in dead­lock

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER

TALKS BE­TWEEN world pow­ers and Iran over its nu­clear pro­gramme re­mained at an im­passe this week as the dead­line for achiev­ing a com­pre­hen­sive agree­ment loomed.

US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry, who par­tic­i­pated in the ne­go­ti­a­tions for two days, said on Tues­day that de­spite some progress, “very real gaps” re­mained.

The talks in Vi­enna be­tween Iran and the P5+1 group of na­tions—the six ma­jor nu­clear pow­ers—have been on go­ing for two weeks. The chief ne­go­tia­tor for the Western pow­ers, EU for­eign af­fairs chief Baroness Ashton, was joined ear­lier this week by Mr Kerry and other for­eign min­is­ters in an at­tempt to achieve a break­through be­fore the July 20 dead­line. The main point of dis­agree­ment is over the num­ber of cen­trifuges that Iran will be al­lowed to keep to en­rich ura­nium.

Iran’s chief ne­go­tia­tor, For­eign Min­is­ter Muham­mad Javad Zarif, pro­posed to the New York Times that Iran would agree to freeze its cur­rent en­rich­ment ca­pac­ity for seven years. This pro­posal is un­likely to be ac­cepted.

It is not clear what will hap­pen if an agree­ment is not signed be­fore the dead­line and whether the in­terim deal signed in Novem­ber in Geneva is to be ex­tended. A se­nior Is­raeli diplo­mat said that “the dif­fer­ences be­tween the sides seem at this point in­sur­mount­able.”

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