VIENNA – Iran and the six world powers kicked off Wednesday(May 14th) the fourth round of nuclear talks in Vienna aimed at crafting a lasting accord.
Iran, the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany plan to start drafting the actual text of a deal, but officials have warned that much work remains to be done.
After three meetings that Washington says have enabled both sides to “understand each other’s positions”, the negotiators aim this time to start drafting the actual text of an accord.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany want Iran to reduce in scope its nuclear program so as to make any dash to build an atomic bomb virtually impossible.
In return Iran, which says its nuclear activities are purely peaceful, wants the lifting of all UN and Western sanctions, which have hit its economy hard.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said after the last round in early April that there was agreement on “50-60 percent” of issues.
Arriving in Vienna Tuesday, both Iran and the United States sought to dampen expectations that a deal was within easy reach, with Zarif saying a “lot of effort” was still required.
A senior US official said the talks would be “very, very difficult” and that there were still “significant gaps” between the two sides and a “range of complicated issues” to tackle.
“We do not know if Iran will be able to make the tough decisions they must to assure the world that they will not obtain a nuclear weapon and that their program is for entirely peaceful purposes,” the official said.
She added that optimism raised in some quarters has “gotten way out of control”. (QNA)