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Iran nuclear talks still face a 'tough struggle' says Germany's Steinmeier

Negotiations between Iran and world powers over plans to restrict Teheran's nuclear program have failed to reach a compromise in the latest round of talks. Foreign ministers say progress has been made, however.

Talks resumed in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Wednesday for a seventh and unscheduled day, despite a

self-imposed deadline

of midnight on Tuesday.

Following the meeting, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he hoped when the talks finally end "we won't just be reporting about closing gaps ... but also over agreement about important points."

Steinmeier added that negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks are still facing a "tough struggle" - indicating the talks are

not likely to end

soon.

Political will

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's Foreign Minister, said, however, that the nuclear talks could succeed if the major powers have a political will to resolve Iran's 12-year old nuclear standoff.

"Progress and success of the talks depend on the political will of the other party ... and this is an issue they have always had a problem with," Zarif said.

Nuclear bomb fears

For the last week, ministers and delegates from Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China have been trying to make progress. The US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China aim 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 White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said on Wednesday that the United States were at the end of negotiations.

"The time has come for Iran to make some decisions," Earnest said.

The outline agreement is intended to

lay the foundations for a final settlement

of the dispute by June 30.

ksb/jil (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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