Iranian, US FMs Hold Direct Meeting, Official Says Scenarios Discussed
VIENNA (Tasnim) - Top diplomats from Iran and the US in their direct meeting in Vienna on Sunday night explored avenues for resolving different nuclear issues as the deadline for a final deal will end on Monday, an official close to the Iranian team of negotiators said.
“In the meeting between Dr. Zarif and John Kerry, different nuclear subjects and relevant solutions were discussed,” the official said on Sunday night.
The comments came shortly after Zarif and Kerry concluded their first direct talks in the Austrian capital.
According to the official, the bilateral meetings also saw the ministers discussing “diverse scenarios”, one of which was “how to continue the negotiations.”
Earlier, Western diplomats had raised the idea of extending a November 24 deadline, set by Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) for securing a comprehensive nuclear deal.
"Our focus remains on taking steps forward toward an agreement, but it is only natural that just over 24 hours from the deadline, we are discussing a range of options both internally and with our P5+1 partners," a senior official of the US State Department said on condition of anonymity, adding, "An extension is one of those options."
Since November 18, senior diplomats from Iran and the sextet have launched a new round of talks in Vienna to draft a lasting accord, meant to end years of Western standoff over Tehran’s peaceful nuclear program.
The talks are expected to continue until November 24, a self-imposed deadline for the talks.
On November 24, 2013, Iran and the Group 5+1 (also referred to as the P5+1 or E3+3) signed an interim nuclear deal in the Swiss city of Geneva.
The Geneva deal (the Joint Plan of Action) came into effect in January and expired in July, when the parties decided to extend negotiations until November 24 in the hope of clinching a lasting accord.