Geneva : Iran and world powers failed to clinch a deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme on Sunday, dashing hopes that an agreement on the decade-old standoff was finally within reach.
Despite an intense three-day diplomatic effort in Geneva, officials said it had not been possible to finalise a deal and that negotiations would resume on November 20.
Hopes for an agreement had soared after top world diplomats rushed to Geneva to join the talks, but faded after cracks began to emerge when France raised concerns about the deal.
EU diplomatic chief Catherine Ashton said there had been “three days of intense and constructive discussions” but that Tehran and the P5+1 group of world powers would have to meet again. “A lot of concrete progress has been achieved but some issues remain,” she said, adding, “Our objective is to reach a conclusion and that’s what we’ll come back to try to do.” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he was not discouraged despite the failure of the talks. “I’m not disappointed at all because the meeting we just had, very long, running after midnight, was a good meeting,” Zarif said.
“We are working together and hopefully we will be able to reach an agreement when we meet again.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was the first to announce the deal had failed, after earlier raising concerns that the proposal did not go far enough to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“The meetings in Geneva have made it possible to move forward, but we have not yet managed to conclude (a deal), because there are still some questions remaining to be dealt with,” Fabius said immediately after talks broke up. Fabius insisted France wanted an agreement, despite claims from some officials that Paris had stymied efforts to reach a deal.
“France wanted from the start to reach a deal on this important Iranian nuclear question,” he said, adding of the next meeting, “We hope at that time to be able to conclude an agreement.”US Secretary of State John Kerry, who had cut short a Middle East tour to join the talks, was due to make a statement later.