Iran nuclear talks in Geneva down to fine print, sources say


Switzerland's Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel prior to talks about Iran's nuclear program in Geneva on November 23, 2013.


Martial Trezzini

US Secretary of State John Kerry, along with five other foreign ministers worked into the evening on Saturday trying to find common ground on the details of a deal aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The talks, held at Geneva's Intercontinental Hotel in a dull suburb of the city, had become bogged down in the details of the agreement, according to reports.

The major powers represented in the P5+1 are seeking an agreement that would halt Iran's nuclear program by six months so that more comprehensive talks could begin.

In return, certain sanctions would be lifted on Iran.

Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, suggested that there were two sticking points in the negotiations.

The first involves Iran's uranium enrichment and the second, Iran's construction of a heavy-water reactor at Arak.

Details were not given but Iran has said that it will not agree to any deal which strips its "right" to enrich uranium.

"We have agreed to 98 percent of the draft ... but the remaining 2 percent is very important to us," Araghchi told reporters.

Saudi Arabia and Israel have been opponents of the deal since the start of the recent talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been vocal in his opposition to what he called the "deal of the century" for Iran.

Israel has also been working through diplomatic channels to ensure the deal is not too sweet for Iran.

The latest round of negotiations, after last week's failure, are entering their fourth day. Foreign ministers, including John Kerry arrived in Geneva on Saturday morning, signalling that the talks may be wrapping up but so far no deal has been concluded.