Zarif: Time to Draft Deal despite Differences

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister and the lead negotiator in the ongoing nuclear talks between Tehran and the major world powers in Geneva, said the two sides have entered a stage to draft a deal.

Zarif: Time to Draft Deal despite Differences

Zarif made the remarks after a trilateral meeting between him, US Secretary of State John Kerry and the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton was temporarily adjourned for a short break Saturday afternoon.

He also noted that the negotiating sides have reached an agreement on some of the issues, although there are still different ideas concerning other cases.

"It is not clear if we can agree on the draft of a joint statement... The negotiations are unlikely to continue tomorrow and will come to a close tonight," Iran's foreign minister added.

Earlier in the day and before the trilateral meeting, the Iranian minister talked of gaps that need to be bridged.

Kerry, Zarif and EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton held a long meeting late into the night on Friday. It came to an end around 11:30 pm local time (2230 GMT), with Kerry saying afterward only that it had involved "a lot of work".

"Over the course of the evening, we continued to make progress as we worked to narrow the gaps. There is more work to do. The meetings will resume tomorrow morning," a senior State Department official said on Friday.

Britain's top diplomat sounded a cautiously optimistic note, saying talks over Iran's nuclear program "have made very good progress," even though crucial issues remain unresolved.

The ongoing talks between Iran and the G5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) over Tehran’s peaceful nuclear program kicked off in Switzerland on Thursday, November 7.

The negotiations are aimed at bringing the West’s standoff over the Islamic Republic’s peaceful nuclear program to an end.

The talks which were initially supposed to last for two days were extended into Saturday after signs that an agreement on Iran's nuclear program was within reach.

Sudden progress in meetings between Iran and the group of nations known alternatively as the G5+1, P5+1 or EU3+3 -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany -- comes after years of stalemate between western nations and Iran over its nuclear program.

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