The negotiations entered their 15th day Saturday with no indications of major progress after three extensions and four target dates for a deal, and diplomats said it remained unclear whether an agreement could be reached by Monday, the latest deadline.
The White House said on Friday that the United States and its partners “have never been closer” to agreement with Iran but that the US delegation would not wait indefinitely.
Earlier Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also indicated the talks were likely to drag on.
Rouhani, who was elected president in 2013 on a platform of improving Iran’s relations with the world as well as its sickly oil-based economy, was quoted by Iran’s Nasim news agency as suggesting talks could succeed or fail.
“We know what’s going on there”. German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius are both in Vienna. Kerry spoke by telephone to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“We had a constructive meeting this morning with Secretary Kerry and Mogherini”, Zarif told reporters, saying “We are making progress”. Iran is unlikely to begin a substantial rollback of its nuclear program until it gets sanctions relief in return.
The scope of access to United Nations inspectors monitoring Iran’s nuclear program remains one of the sticking points. The Americans want no restrictions. The current round that was supposed to conclude on June 30, but was extended until July 7, then July 10 and now July 13.
The sides had hoped to seal a deal before the end of Thursday in Washington in attempts to avoid delays in implementing their promises. But if a deal is not reached by 6:00 a.m.in Vienna (0400 GMT), the sceptical Republican-led U.S. Congress will have 60 days rather than 30 days to review it, extra time the administration of President Barack Obama worries could create new chances to derail it.
This is the third extension on the final round of talks to reach a deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program.
The chairman of Iran Air, Farhad Parvaresh, told Reuters a year ago that, as soon as sanctions were eased, Iran would seek to obtain at least 100 wide-body and short-haul jets, but that it would turn to Russian Federation and China if nuclear talks collapsed.
Even jokes meant to dispel tensions reflected the raw nerves after two weeks straight at the negotiating table, relieved only by brief breathers on the balcony of the ornate manor-turned-hotel venue for the talks.