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Iran nuclear deal edges closer but no concrete signs yet

world Updated: Jul 14, 2015 00:32 IST
Iran nuclear deal

World leaders, including US secretary of state John Kerry (second from right), at the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, on Monday. (AFP Photo)

Iran and six world powers appeared close to a deal on Monday to give Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme, but Iranian officials said talks could run past their latest midnight deadline and success was not guaranteed.

Iranian state media reported that foreign ministers from the six powers were planning to meet at 7pm GMT (Tuesday, 12.30am IST). Tasnim news agency said it would be an ‘important’ meeting, though several Western officials said they were unaware that any such meeting had been scheduled.

There were no concrete signs of a breakthrough as diplomats in Vienna continued to struggle over sticking points such as UN sanctions and access to Iranian military sites.

But Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, asked by reporters whether there could still be a deal on Monday, said: “There’s always a chance.”

Earlier, US secretary of state John Kerry sat in silence when asked if the deadline might be extended or if he could rule out an extension. His Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said that ‘there shouldn’t be any extension’, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.