Iran nuclear talks break off, to resume next week

Iran nuclear talks break off, to resume next week

LAUSANNE - Reuters
Iran nuclear talks break off, to resume next week

US Secretary of State Kerry (L) expresses his condolences over the death the of the mother of Iranian President Rouhani (unseen) before a negotiation session. AFP Photo

Iran and six world powers suspended negotiations on a historic nuclear deal and were set to convene again later next week to break a deadlock over sensitive atomic research and lifting of sanctions, Western officials said on March 20.

While the negotiations have made progress over the past year and both sides appear determined to push for a deal, differences on major sticking points are still wide enough to potentially prevent an agreement in the end.

On the sixth day of talks at a 19th century hotel in the Swiss city of Lausanne, plans for the delegations changed repeatedly over the course of several hours. At one point, the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany were expected to join the talks on March 21.

Less than an hour later those plans were called into question after the Iranian delegation informed their U.S., British, French, Germany, Russian and Chinese counterparts that they would be returning to Tehran due to the death of President Hassan Rouhani’s 90-year-old mother on March 20 morning.

Tehran’s delegation checked out of the hotel and headed to the airport. All sides agreed a resumption late next week was likely.

Prior to the Iranian departure, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation chief Ali Akbar Salehi held another series of meetings to break the impasse.