Talks between the six major powers and Iran over its nuclear program have passed the midnight deadline and are continuing. It is still unclear if Iran will accept a political agreement.
The midnight deadline for an outline accord on curbing Tehran's nuclear program has come and gone in Lausanne, with negotiators still trying to reach a deal.
The Reuters news agency quoted two diplomatic sources: "We have told them that this has to be decided now," said one source. "It can't carry on for six more days." Another said the six powers had told Iran that they wouldn't be playing "extra time."
The talks, centering on Iran's nuclear research and development program and United Nations sanctions against the country, have been going on for the last ten years.
While Iran has affirmed its "nuclear rights" at the talks, the United States signaled: "We've made enough progress in the last days to merit staying until Wednesday," according to State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. "There are several difficult issues still remaining."
Earlier, the Associated Press agency said negotiators suggested a partial agreement was possible, leaving some difficult areas to be negotiated in the coming months.
For the last six days, ministers and delegates from Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China have been trying to make progress. Their aim is to prevent Iran from gaining the capacity to develop a nuclear bomb. In exchange they will ease international sanctions, which have badly affected Iran's economy.
The outline agreement is intended to lay the foundations for a final settlement of the dispute by June 30.
"Iran does not want a nuclear deal just for the sake of having a deal, and a final deal should guarantee the Iranian nation's nuclear rights," negotiator Hamid Baidinejad told reporters in Lausanne, Switzerland where the talks are going on.
A German delegation source said "it remains an open question whether we will succeed."
A German diplomatic source said the talks were "difficult" with a "changeable atmosphere" and "frequent breaks to negotiate in smaller groups."
jm/bk (AFP, Reuters)