All sides on Iran’s nuclear talks look for alternatives as deadline looms

World Today

(LtoR) US Secretary of State John Kerry, former EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meet for talks on the sidelines of nuclear talks with Iran aimed at settling a dispute over Iran’s nuclear program at the Palais Coburg in Vienna on November 22, 2014. At stake in the Austrian capital Vienna is a historic deal in which Iran would curb its nuclear activities in exchange for broad relief from years of heavy international economic sanctions. It could end a 12-year standoff with the West that has even raised the threat of Israeli military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JOE KLAMAR

Negotiations surrounding Iran’s nuclear program have intensified in Vienna. On the eve of the deadline, foreign ministers from Russia and China have arrived to try and strike a deal. All sides pushed for a comprehensive plan while also explored alternatives in case their effort fails.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shuttled from meeting to meeting at the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna on Sunday, including two joint sessions with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the EU’s envoy Catherine Ashton.

Kerry also held discussions with his counterparts from Britain, Russia, Germany, and France, whose foreign minister said there were still differences to be settled.

“We will discuss and continue negotiations. We can’t anticipate the outcome, but we will keep working,” said Laurent Fabius, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The key sticking points remain the same: how fast Western sanctions can be dropped if an agreement is reached, and how much of Iran’s nuclear program Tehran is prepared to dismantle.

But before Sunday’s discussions began, Germany’s foreign minister insisted progress had been made.

“Over the past 10 years, we have never been so close to an agreement as we are now. The atmosphere of the negotiations is very constructive,” said Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

An agreement could end a 12 year standoff that has even raised the specter of military strikes by Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities.

The deadline for a deal is midnight Monday, though a growing number of diplomats said a limited extension could be possible, if the bulk of an agreement is in place.

CCTV America’s Jack Barton reported this story from Vienna.

All sides on Iran's nuclear talks looked for alternatives as deadline looms

Negotiations surrounding Iran's nuclear program have intensified in Vienna. On the eve of the deadline, foreign ministers from Russian and China have arrived to try and strike a deal. All sides pushed for a comprehensive deal while also explored alternatives in case their effort fails. CCTV America's Jack Barton reports from Vienna.