Vienna-6 talks to continue until July 20: Iranian negotiators tell IRNA

Tehran, July 1, IRNA – Two senior nuclear negotiators Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-e Ravanchi said Tuesday that nuclear talks between Iran and the six world nations scheduled to begin on Wednesday will continue for 18 days until July 20.

The two members of Iranian negotiating team made the remarks in an exclusive interview with IRNA.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany have to agree on a comprehensive Agreement about the nuclear dispute by July 20 that they have set as the target date under an interim deal struck on November 24 known as the Joint Plan of Action.

Asked by IRNA correspondent about the possibility of extending the July 20 deadline, Takht-e Ravanchi said the negotiations are going to start on July 2 and come to an end on July 20, unless another decision is made.

However he said the deadline could be extended if necessary.

In their last round of talks in Vienna on June 16-20, representatives of Iran and the Western governments initiated to draft the Comprehensive Agreement which they called "the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action".

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the text had more parentheses compared to the number of words – a reference to the blank sections in the draft.

Asked whether the two sides could resolve the differences and reach the Comprehensive Agreement, Takht-e Ravanchi said he was not disappointed, but he noted that it is hard to predict and that a lot of efforts have yet to be made.

Abbas Araqchi, the deputy foreign minister and the senior member of Iranian negotiating team, said that Vienna talks will start on Wednesday with a meeting between Foreign Minister Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to decide about how to continue with drafting the Comprehensive Agreement.

On the possibility of extension of the talks, Araqchi said the last days of talks will determine whether the target date for reaching a deal has to be extended.

The Iranian diplomats said that the level and amount to which Iran will be allowed to enrich, the timetable for lifting of sanctions and the length of the period during which the agreement will be valid make up for major differences.

The upcoming Vienna-6 talks are the lengthiest round of negotiations between the two sides during which they are determined to reach an accord.