U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton have begun a second day of talks in Oman as a deadline for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran approaches.
The extended discussions Monday are taking place after some of the participants originally had been scheduled to leave.
Still far apart
President Barack Obama said in a televised interview Sunday that the sides are still far apart in reaching a nuclear accord before the end-of-the-month deadline.
“Are we going to be able to close this final gap so that they can re-enter the international community, sanctions can be slowly reduced, and we have verifiable lock-tight assurances that they can’t develop a nuclear weapon?” Obama said. “There’s still a big gap. We may not be able to get there.”
The meeting in Oman is the Obama administration’s best chance to push forward a nuclear deal with Iran before skeptical Republicans take control the U.S. Congress next year.
Speaking before departing Beijing on Saturday, Kerry also said there are “real gaps” in talks to reach an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program. He also stressed that the nuclear negotiations are separate from other issues, including possible cooperation with Iran in the fight against Islamic State.
Zarif, who also spoke ahead of Sunday’s meeting, says sanctions imposed by the West will not provide a solution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.
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SOURCE: VOA News