A dispute over UN sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile programme and a broader arms embargo were among issues holding up a nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers on Monday, the day before their latest self-imposed deadline.
“The Iranians want the ballistic missile sanctions lifted. They say there is no reason to connect it with the nuclear issue” a Western official said. “There’s no appetite for that on our part.”
Iranian and other Western officials confirmed this view. The foreign ministers of the six powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - met with Iranian foreign minister Javad Mohamed Zarif on Monday to try to strike a deal by Tuesday night. “The Western side insists that not only should Iran’s ballistic missile programme remain under sanctions, but that Iran suspend its programme as well,” an Iranian official said.
Iran is insisting on its rights and says all the sanctions, including on the ballistic missiles, should be lifted when the UN sanctions are lifted.”
A senior Iranian official said on condition of anonymity that Tehran wanted a UN arms embargo terminated as well. The West wants to keep the arms embargo in place.
The deal is aimed at curbing Tehran’s most sensitive nuclear work for a decade or more, in exchange for relief from sanctions.
If there is a nuclear deal, it will include a draft UN Security Council resolution that, once adopted, would terminate all UN nuclear-related sanctions while re-imposing other existing restrictions on Iran. An Iranian official said talks could continue until July 9. US Secretary of
State John Kerry said negotiators were aiming for July 7.