Iran n-talks wind down, outcome unclear

Vienna, July 7 (IANS) Without any clear indication of an imminent final deal, Tuesday marked the last day of negotiations in Vienna between Iran and six world powers on Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.

The foreign ministers of the seven countries involved in the negotiating marathon persisted until after midnight on Monday in an attempt to overcome past differences that obstruct a final deal, Efe news agency reported.

Despite the long journey, with undeniable progress and victories, diplomatic officials insisted on Monday afternoon that failure was still a real possibility.

A member of German delegates told the press that there were key issues that were yet to be resolved.

One sensitive issue that has emerged in the final stage of talks is the embargo on weapons and ballistic missiles hanging over Iran.

With the support of Russia, the Iranian side wants the UN to lift the arms ban as part of the nuclear agreement, but the US and European countries categorically reject the term.

The embargo was imposed by the UN Security Council to prevent Tehran from aiding and arming its political, military or ideological allies in places like Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and the Palestinian territories.

As it stands, nuclear negotiations have put substantial limitations on Tehran’s nuclear activities for at least a decade, in exchange for lifting economic and political sanctions.

Figuring out how to overturn the punitive measures has become a main hurdle to reaching agreement.

Negotiations may be extended once again, although going beyond Thursday, July 9, would have further complications, as summer recess would give the US Congress 60 days to review the agreement, rather than 30.

Giving the Congress so much time in review may delay the final approval, and thus make a final agreement more vulnerable to critics, many analysts have warned.

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