World powers, Iran to make 'last push' for nuclear deal: Britain

23rd November 2014, Comments 0 comments

World powers and Iran will make a "last push" for a nuclear deal before a Monday midnight deadline even though the parties are far apart, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said.

"At the moment we're focused on the last push, a big push tomorrow morning to try and get this across the line," Hammond told reporters Sunday in Vienna when asked if an extension of the deadline was being considered.

"Of course if we're not able to do it, we'll then look at where we go from there," he added.

A senior US official acknowledged for the first time Sunday that Iran and world powers were now discussing a possible extension of their deadline for a deal amid wide gaps in the talks.

Hammond said the parties would still try to bridge the gaps even though it was not clear whether they could be.

"We're all focused on trying to get to a deal but I wouldn't want to give any false hopes here. We're still quite a long way apart and there are some very tough and complex issues to deal with but we're all focused right now on trying to get that deal done," he said.

Hammond said he was consulting Sunday evening with his counterparts from Germany and France on how to "manage the meetings" on Monday with the Iranian negotiators.

Britain, the United States, Russia, China, Francce and Germany have been locked in talks with Iran for months to turn an interim deal that expires on Monday into a lasting accord.

Such an agreement, after a 12-year-standoff, is aimed at easing fears that Iran will develop nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian activities, an ambition it strongly denies.

© 2014 AFP

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