Great efforts are still required as US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met in Vienna on Saturday to reach common ground as deadline for nuclear talks approaches, Senior US and Iranian officials said.
Both Kerry and Zarif stated that there are still many obstacles to overcome to reach a final agreement that could satisfy both sides before the June 30 deadline.
"We have a lot of hard work to do. We have some very tough issues," Kerry said according to a State Department draft transcript.
"I agree. Maybe not on the issues. But on the fact that we need to work really hard in order to be able to make progress and move forward," Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif was quoted as saying in the transcript.
The meeting ended within 90 minutes and Kerry stated that he was “hopeful” of a prosperous development.
The nuclear deal aims the Iranian government would refrain from weaponizing nuclear technology and only make use of it in peaceful industrialised fields, in return, sanctions which have long crippled the country would be finally lifted.
Main disputes remaining in the negotiations are on the matter of the pace and timing of sanctions relief and on the nature of monitoring mechanisms.
US, Israel and other Western countries claim Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran says its programme is solely for peaceful objectives.
Talks are held between Iran and P5+1 countries — China, France, Russia, the UK, the US and Germany.
The real deadline is not June 30 rather July 9, diplomats stated.
Parties involved in the negotiations fear that postponing the deadline for too long can cause more disagreements to unravel.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Saturday there were three conditions that Iran still needed to accept to reach a "solid" agreement with the negotiating parties over its nuclear programme.
"What we want is a robust deal that recognises Iran's right to civil nuclear power, but guarantees that Iran gives up definitively the nuclear weapon," Fabius said upon arrival in Vienna.
"For this there are three indispensable conditions: a lasting limitation of Iran's research and development capacity, a rigorous inspection of sites, including military if needed, and the third condition is the automatic return of sanctions in case it violates its commitments."