The negotiations between the P5+1 nations and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program failed to reach an agreement before the deadline of July 20 and agreed to extend the talks till November 24 for brokering an agreement.
The announcement was made by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a joint statement in Vienna.
“We, together with the Political Directors of the E3+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States), have worked intensively towards a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPOA), building on the political momentum created by the adoption and smooth implementation by both sides of the Joint Plan of Action agreed on 24 November 2013,” the joint statement said.
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The statement came after months of tough negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 comprising of the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany; along with European Union with the latest negotiations spread over nearly two weeks in Vienna.
The P5+1 group and Iran had agreed on a Joint Plan of Action last November to arrive on an agreement by June 20 to address the international communities concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
“While we have made tangible progress on some of the issues and have worked together on a text for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, there are still significant gaps on some core issues which will require more time and effort,” the statement said.
Diplomats from these countries and European Union will reconvene in coming weeks in different formats with the clear determination to reach agreement on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action at the earliest possible moment.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in Vienna early this week to participate in negotiations said the JPOA was a six-month understanding that went into effect on January 20, and it has been a clear success.
“Since its implementation, Iran has complied with its obligations to neutralize its stockpile of 20 per cent enriched uranium; cap its stockpile of 5 per cent enriched uranium; not install advanced centrifuges; not install or test new components at its Arak reactor; and submit to far more frequent inspections of its facilities,” he said.
“The International Atomic Energy Agency has regularly verified that Iran has lived up to these commitments.”
“Meanwhile, we and our P5+1 and EU partners have provided limited sanctions relief, as agreed to in the Joint Plan of
Action, while vigorously enforcing the broader sanctions regime that remains in place,” he added.
Kerry said that though they “have made tangible progress in our comprehensive negotiations”, “very real gaps” remain in some areas.
“Today, we have a draft text that covers the main issues, but there are still a number of brackets and blank spaces in
that text,” Kerry said. He said they have been working together to find a long-term solution that would effectively close off the plutonium path to a bomb through the reactor at Arak.
“We have been working on a different purpose for Fordow that would ensure it cannot be used to build a nuclear weapon. We have been working to guarantee Iran’s stockpile of low enriched uranium can’t be turned into higher enriched uranium suitable for a bomb,” he said.
“We have agreed that any long-term, comprehensive solution will involve enhanced monitoring and verification measures
that go well beyond the status quo – measures that are absolutely critical in creating the confidence we need that Iran will not be able to build a weapon in secret,” Kerry added.
In return, the US and its partners will continue to suspend the sanctions we agreed to under the JPOA and will allow Iran access to USD 2.8 billion dollars of its restricted assets, the four-month prorated amount of the original JPOA commitment, he said.
In a statement, the White House said the goal is to reach a comprehensive deal that addresses the various pathways Iran could take to obtain a nuclear weapon.