DIPLOMATS and foreign ministers finished a sixth day of negotiation on Iran’s nuclear programme yesterday saying that talks were nearing the finish line.
Officials had hoped to reach a “framework” deal by the end of March but watered it down to just an “understanding.”
There are still disagreements about uranium enrichment, where enriched uranium is stored, nuclear research and sanctions.
Iran insists that it only wants to enrich uranium for peaceful energy, scientific, industrial and medical uses.
But Tehran has agreed to some curbs to its programme in return for the lifting of harsh economic sanctions by hostile governments.
However, it also challenged limits on technology which could in theory be used to make atomic weapons.
Part of the reason why officials could only come to an “understanding” is because Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had opposed a two-part deal.
He fears that the West might later reinterpret parts of the deal to further restrict the Iranian nuclear programme.
Attending the negotiations were Iran and the P5+1 group — Germany and the five permanent UN security council members China, Russia, the US, Britain and France.
“We have an opportunity to realise our chances if no party to the negotiations tries to raise the stakes at the last moment to get something extra instead of keeping a balance of interests,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
He may have been referring to members of the US Congress who want to impose more sanctions on Iran.