Second day of Iran nuclear talks in Geneva yields no deal, no progress



EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L) sits next to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on November 20, 2013 at the start of closed-door nuclear talks in Geneva.



Iran and the P5+1 nations remained at odds Thursday as nuclear talks continued for a second day in Geneva.

Though both sides — the P5+1 being comprised of the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany — said the talks so far had been serious, detailed and constructive, Tehran said there was no deal in sight.

Near the end of Thursday, Iran's senior negotiator Abbas Araqchi said "there has been no progress" on bridging the differences between both sides.

Araqchi told Iranian state TV that "as long as trust is not restored, we cannot continue constructive negotiations." He also said Iran's ability to enrich uranium was "non-negotiable."

Araqchi's words echoed those of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said on Wednesday, "We do insist that we will not step back one iota from our rights."

Araqchi did add that should there be an agreement, "it is possible for foreign ministers (from P5+1) to come" to Geneva to complete a deal.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier Thursday for "positive" discussions.

More from GlobalPost: Iran won't step back 'one iota' from nuclear rights, says Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Thursday that world powers were backing France's harder line on Iran's nuclear program that demands Tehran curtail its nuclear program before getting relief from sanctions.

Asked by French TV whether there could be a deal, Fabius said, "I hope so. But this agreement can only be possible based on firmness. For now the Iranians have not been able to accept the position of the six. I hope they will accept it."

This round of negotiations about Iran's nuclear program began Wednesday, and is the third since Hassan Rouhani was elected as Iran's president.

US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid applied some pressure from Washington, saying lawmakers would move to impose more sanctions if no deal was reached.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on his visit to Moscow, "I pledge Iran will not get a nuclear weapon."

Netanyahu is in the country to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and push for a "real" solution to Iran's nuclear program.

The six world powers want Iran to halt portions of its nuclear program for six months in exchange for relief from painful sanctions.

The deal would be an initial step towards a final accord aimed at ensuring Tehran never made a nuclear weapon.