LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The United States, Iran and five other world powers say they’ve reached an understanding that will direct them toward achieving a comprehensive nuclear agreement within three months.
Reading out a joint statement, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said a “decisive step” after more than a decade of negotiations had been achieved. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif followed with the same statement in Farsi.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the top diplomats of Britain, France and Germany also briefly took the stage behind them. In a tweet, Kerry said there was an agreement “to resolve major issues on nuclear program. Back to work soon on a final deal.”
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) April 2, 2015
Earlier in the day officials spoke outside week-long talks that have busted through a March 31 deadline in an effort to formulate a general statement of what has been accomplished and documents setting down what the sides need to do by the end of June deadline for a deal.
In the search for a comprehensive deal, the U.S. and five other countries hope to curb Iran’s nuclear technologies that it could use to make weapons. Tehran denies such ambitions but is negotiating because it wants a lifting of sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.
Released from the White House Office of the Press Secretary:
Reza Marashi of Nat’l Iranian American Council on the Iran deal
To discuss further about the Iran nuclear framework announced in Switzerland. CCTV spoke to Reza Marashi, the Research Director for the National Iranian American Council. He was at the announcement in Lausanne.
Reza Marashi of Nat'l Iranian American Council on the Iran dealTo discuss further about the Iran nuclear framework announced in Switzerland. CCTV spoke to Reza Marashi, the Research Director for the National Iranian American Council. He was at the announcement in Lausanne.
Pressured by congressional critics in the U.S. who threaten to impose new sanctions on Iran over what they say is a bad emerging deal, the Obama administration is demanding significant public disclosure of agreements and understandings reached at the current round. But the officials say Iran wants a minimum made public.
Iranian leaders are opposed to two agreements, saying previous two-stage negotiations were detrimental to their interests. They results reached in the Swiss city of Lausanne as less than a deal and more of an informal understanding.
The officials demanded anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly.
They spoke after senior diplomats from the six countries negotiating with Iran huddled overnight in strategy sessions meant to advance the pace of agonizingly slow nuclear talks. Iran’s foreign minister said the sides were close to a preliminary agreement, but not yet there.
The talks resumed several hours after a flurry of marathon overnight sessions between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as well as other meetings among the six powers. Iran also wants to get rid of the sanctions, which have had stifling effect on its economy.
Officials with the six world powers also are trying to fashion more detailed documents on the steps they must take by June 30 to meet a host of goals.
As he headed to his own meeting Thursday, Zarif said the talks had made “significant progress.” But he said drafts still had to be written. Reaching both agreement in Lausanne as well as a June final deal will be “a difficult job,” he said.
One problem, said Zarif, was differing voices among the other side at the table — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — making it difficult for them “to reach a coordination.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who left Lausanne Tuesday, said the two sides were close, the Interfax news agency reported. There are “only a few steps left to take or, in some cases, even-half steps, and some things have already been agreed upon,” he said.
But as the talks dragged on, one Western official said at one point early Thursday that they were “at a tough moment and the path forward is really unclear,” adding that the idea of breaking them off over Passover and Easter and resuming them next week had been informally raised. That was confirmed by another official. Neither was authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly, and both demanded anonymity to speak.
Jamal Abdi, Policy Director at the National Iranian American Council
For more on this framework deal, CCTV spoke to Jamal Abdi. He’s Policy Director at the National Iranian American Council.
Jamal Abdi, Policy Director at the National Iranian American CouncilFor more on this framework deal CCTV spoke to Jamal Abdi. He's Policy Director at the National Iranian American Council.
The talks — the latest in more than a decade of diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear prowess — hit the weeklong mark on Thursday, shortly before the State Department announced they would go into double overtime from the March 31 deadline.
As the sides bore down on efforts to get a deal, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier canceled a planned visit to Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was also back, less than a day after leaving the city.
The West demands that the Lausanne talks wind up with concrete commitments. But Iran has pushed back, demanding a general statement with few specifics. That is politically unpalatable for the Obama administration, which must convince a hostile Congress that it has made progress in the talks so lawmakers do not enact new sanctions that could destroy the negotiations.
By blowing through self-imposed deadlines, Obama risks further antagonizing lawmakers in both parties who are poised to take their own action to upend a deal if they determine the president has been too conciliatory.
The initial response to the extensions from Republicans suggested they had already come to that conclusion. “It is clear, the negotiations are not going well,” Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a statement. “At every step, the Iranians appear intent on retaining the capacity to achieve a nuclear weapon.”
Drivers in Tehran honked their horns and residents celebrated on the streets after the announcement of the landmark deal.
Story from The Associated Press.
Framework for program deal agreed upon
For John Kerry, securing a framework for a nuclear deal was something of a personal triumph. A self-imposed deadline had passed and he faced criticism at home.CCTV’s Richard Bestic filed this report.
Framework for program deal agreed uponFor John Kerry, securing a framework for a nuclear deal was something of a personal triumph. A self-imposed deadline had passed and he faced criticism at home.CCTV's Richard Bestic filed this report
Mohsen Milani of Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies on lifting the sanctions
CCTV America interviewed Mohsen Milani, Executive Director of the Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies on how lifting the sanctions against Iran will affect the oil rich company.