“I haven’t seen anything new from Iran”, a Western diplomat close to the talks told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Of course, this cuts to the heart of what’s at stake in these negotiations: Western powers are trying to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, while Iran has always insisted that its nuclear program has been used only for peaceful purposes. “There is no evidence that the arms embargo has any relation with the nuclear issue”, the official said.
Iran said that it had no target date for completing a nuclear deal with world powers.
The new deadline is Friday – 10 days after the June 30 deadline that had been set in April when the negotiators settled on a framework for the deal.
Officials on both the US and Iranian sides have expressed in recent days that they are negotiating in earnest and making progress, and have downplayed concerns over reaching a specific deadline. The United States and its allies fear Iran is using its civilian nuclear programme as a cover to develop a nuclear weapons capability.
“On other sanctions we are still discussing, the question of simultaneity is very important for us, measures by both sides should happen at same time an in the same manner”, he said, adding that “so to find a formulation to find simultaneity on this case is rather hard… we think that some ideas and formulations that we have been able to innovate may work but we are still working on that”.
Some of the text remains in brackets, meaning it is yet to be agreed, and that bracketed text encompasses some of the most intractable issues.
Wang’s remarks were echoed by the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini who said the talks would not be extended to another round, saying the deadline for talks could be treated in a flexible way to give the negotiators more time to finalize the deal.
If a deal is reached by Thursday, the US Congress would have 30 days to review it and vote on whether to lift certain sanctions lawmakers have imposed. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Wang Yi of China have announced no immediate plans to return, suggesting negotiators were still not close to a deal.
It is the fourth time the parties have extended the terms of the interim deal, which was struck in November 2013 and provided Iran with limited sanctions relief in exchange for a halt to the production of uranium enriched to a purity level of 20 percent.
A journalist talks into a TV camera in front of Palais Coburg where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, July 7, 2015.
Iranian officials, for example, say they want a means of recourse in case the six world powers don’t live up to their end of the bargain.
Officials from the United States hoped to wrap them up in time for a 4 am this week deadline to secure an expedited review by the United States Congress, which is not yet clear if that was possible.
Schiff said, “Well, it certainly will leave Iran with a nuclear infrastructure”.
It would be a tragic irony if a disagreement on conventional arms thwarts a deal to curtail unconventional arms, noted Ali Vaez, senior Iran analyst.at the global Crisis Group.