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U.S. and Iranian diplomats tried to narrow differences over how quickly to ease economic penalties against Tehran and how significantly the Iranians must open up military facilities to international inspections. American officials described the session as “at times, intense.”
The talks between U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad JavadZarif, in what officials described as the most substantive negotiating round since world powers and Iran clinched a framework pact in April.
At present, a top Iranian official said there remains no trust between Tehran and world powers and either side could yet abandon a nuclear deal after signing. In a paradox of long-running negotiations between Iran and the West, Deputy Foreign Minister, Abbas Araghchi, said an agreement despite nearing the due that neither side trusts the other.
A final agreement could restraint in aspects of Iran’s nuclear program while allowing it to continue to enrich uranium in exchange for a lifting of sanctions, but breaches could see the deal being ripped up.
“Our basis is mistrust and this is the reality,” Araghchi was quoted by national television at the finale of the latest round of talks in Vienna with the P5+1 group of nations that has been talking to Iran for almost two years.
“We don’t trust the other side at all and they don’t trust us either,” Araghchi said, remarking the “snapback” provisions would be as significant to Iran as to the United States if measures are back out on.
“Thus, all the provisions in a deal… whenever each party feels the other side is violating the commitments, they can snap back and implement whatever existed before the agreement. We have taken every necessary measure so this would happen for us. Naturally, the other side will do the same for sanctions,” he added.
Araghchi, a key figure in the talks, also publicized the text of a final agreement would comprise a main document of about 20 pages supplemented by five appendices, totaling a further 40 to 50 pages.
“Each word of this instrument is being discussed and sometimes quarreled on,” he said. “There are differences, but work moves forward very slowly. One appendix would be related to sanctions to be lifted on Iran while others would document the technical limits of Iran’s nuclear program, allowable research and development, and a “common committee” that would supervise the deal,” he said.