“Impressive Progress” Made in Nuclear Talks with Iran: Chief US Negotiator
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The chief US nuclear negotiator said there has been impressive progress on several issues in the nuclear talks between world powers and Iran.
“We have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive discussions on every element of a possible text,” Wendy Sherman, the US undersecretary of state for political affairs, said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Thursday.
She noted, however, that talks have moved forward at a “not so fast” pace, adding that “like any complicated and technically complex diplomatic initiative, this is a puzzle with many interlocking pieces”.
Sherman acknowledged that certain allies of the United States and members of Congress are opposed to a final nuclear deal between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).
“Some worry that it will fail. Others seem to fear that it will succeed. Many have questions and doubts,” she stated.
The chief US nuclear negotiator further referred to the November 24 deadline for clinching a deal, and described it as “the time to finish the job”.
Iran and the G5+1 (alternatively known as the P5+1 or E3+3) are in talks to hammer out a final deal to end a decade of impasse over Tehran’s peaceful nuclear energy program.
On November 24, 2013, Iran and the G5+1 signed an interim nuclear deal in the Swiss city of Geneva.
Based on the interim deal, the world powers agreed to suspend some non-essential sanctions and impose no new nuclear-related bans in return for Tehran’s decision to freeze parts of its nuclear activities.
In July, Tehran and the six countries agreed to extend negotiations until November 24 in the hope of clinching a final deal.
Sources close to the Iranian negotiating team say the main stumbling block in the way of resolving the Western dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program remains to be the removal of all the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
Tehran wants the sanctions entirely lifted while Washington, under pressure from the pro-Israeli lobby, insists that at least the UN-imposed sanctions should remain in place.