Kerry: Gaps Remain in Nuke Talks 11/22 12:57
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned of "serious gaps" in talks about a
nuclear deal with Iran, but as Monday's deadline approached his German
counterpart said Tehran and six world powers have "never been closer" to
agreement since they started negotiating more than six years ago.
VIENNA (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned of "serious gaps"
in talks about a nuclear deal with Iran, but as Monday's deadline approached
his German counterpart said Tehran and six world powers have "never been
closer" to agreement since they started negotiating more than six years ago.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also said Saturday that both
sides are "still far apart" on certain questions. But he suggested the
differences are bridgeable, declaring that the talks have reached "a moment of
truth." Still, he said, success or failure "is still completely open at this
Steinmeier spoke after arriving in Vienna to join Kerry's efforts to move
the talks forward and shortly before meeting with the chief U.S. diplomat.
High-level comings and goings since Friday also have seen British Foreign
Secretary Philip Hammond and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stop by for
talks with Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other
participants in the negotiations.
"We're working hard," Kerry said Saturday. "But we ... still have some
Kerry spoke by telephone on Saturday to Arab foreign ministers in the Gulf,
whose countries fear Iran's potential abilities to make nuclear arms, and with
his Canadian and Turkish counterparts, the U.S. State Department said.
Hopes of progress were briefly boosted Friday, with reports that Zarif
planned to fly to Tehran for additional consultations. That could have meant
possible progress, suggesting that the Iranians need political approval from
Tehran to move forward.
Iranian media initially spoke of a new U.S. initiative that Zarif needed to
have his superiors approve, but the Iranian diplomat dashed those hopes, saying
he was staying in Vienna and had "no remarkable offers and ideas to take to
Asked about the prospects of an agreement while taking an outside cigarette
break from a meeting Saturday, Zarif shouted "Inshallah" ("God willing") in
The United States --- backed by Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany
--- is seeking a deal that cuts, and puts long-term limits on, Iranian nuclear
programs that could be used to make weapons. Iran says it does not want such
arms but is negotiating in the hope of relief from sanctions imposed because of
its nuclear activities.
Kerry and Zarif have both emphasized that there has been no discussion about
extending the talks, if the deadline is not met. However, big differences in
the negotiations increasingly suggest that both sides could agree to continue
talking past Monday.