‘Inshallah,’ Kerry says on possible nuclear deal with Iran

‘Inshallah,’ Kerry says on possible nuclear deal with Iran

LAUSANNE, Switzerland
‘Inshallah,’ Kerry says on possible nuclear deal with Iran

Officials wait for a meeting with officials from P5+1, the European Union and Iran ahead of the opening of a plenary session on Iran nuclear talks at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 31, 2015. AFP Photo

A nuclear deal with Iran is possible ‘If Allah wills,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has reportedly said.

The chief U.S. negotiator at the Iran nuclear talks used the term “Inshallah,” an Arabic term which translates as “If Allah wills,” when asked by an Iranian student about the future of the talks when he was shopping for chocolates, IRN news agency reported on March 31, citing Al-Monitor reporter Laura Rozen.

With a deadline hours away, Iran and six world powers ramped up the pace on March 31 in negotiations over a preliminary deal on Tehran’s nuclear program, while officials cautioned that any agreement would likely be fragile and incomplete, Reuters reported.

For nearly a week, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China have been trying to break an impasse in the talks, which are aimed at stopping Iran from gaining the capacity to develop a nuclear bomb in exchange for easing international sanctions that are crippling its economy.

But disagreements on enrichment research and the pace of lifting sanctions threatened to scupper a deal that could end a 12-year standoff between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and reduce the risk of another Middle East war.

“The two sticking points are the duration and the lifting of sanctions,” an Iranian official said. “The two sides are arguing about the content of the text. Generally, progress has been made.”

Negotiations among the parties on sticking points went into the night and continued on March 31. They were expected to run late and possibly into April 1.

Officials said they were hoping to agree on some kind of declaration, while any actual preliminary understanding that is agreed might remain confidential.

It was also possible they would not agree to anything. “We are preparing for both scenarios,” another Western diplomat said.

Officials said talks on a framework accord, intended as a prelude to a comprehensive agreement by the end of June, could yet fall apart.

“There still remain some difficult issues,” Kerry told CNN. “We are working very hard to work those through. We are working into the night.”