SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- The US State Department has called negotiations between Iran, the United States and the European Union in the Omani capital Muscat on Iran’s nuclear energy program “tough, direct and serious”.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki made the remarks on Monday as the two-day talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union envoy Catherine Ashton ended.
Psaki provided no further details, but said that high-level negotiations were “continuing to chip away at a very challenging issue.”
Asked if over 10 hours of talks were making progress, as Kerry, Zarif and Ashton appeared for a short time for photographers, Zarif replied: “We will eventually.”
Kerry said, “We are working hard. We are working hard”.
Meanwhile, senior Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi told Press TV that negotiations in Muscat were useful but no headway was made.
Zarif said last week that any final nuclear agreement with the P5+1 group should recognize the Islamic Republic’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on November 2 that Tehran and six world powers can reach a comprehensive agreement before a November 24 deadline set for the talks between the two sides.
Iran and the P5+1 group — Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany – are negotiating to narrow their differences over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program ahead of the deadline.
Last November, the two sides clinched an interim nuclear accord, which took effect on January 20 and expired six months later. However, both parties agreed to extend their talks until November 24 as they remained divided on a number of key issues.
Sources close to the Iranian negotiating team say the main stumbling block to resolving Western dispute over Iran’s nuclear issue is the removal of sanctions, not the number of centrifuges or the level of uranium enrichment.