“We have about eight more weeks … that’s not a staggering amount of time… the gaps are still serious,” the senior US administration official told reporters, vowing “we will continue the hard work over the next few weeks.”
The official was talking after the talks went to a higher level with three hours of trilateral negotiations between US Secretary of State John Kerry, his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Sharif and the EU’s chief negotiator Catherine Ashton over the past two days.
“This is a complicated negotiation and if we don’t come up with some ways forward we will not get to” a comprehensive agreement reining in Iran’s suspect nuclear program by November 24, the official warned, asking not to be identified.
What was needed was “creativity,” the US official, acknowledging gaps remained over Iran’s enrichment and capacity, while the Islamic republic still has serious concerns about crippling international sanctions.
All the teams “are going back to our capitals” and will “absorb” what happened, before deciding when next to meet.
“We have still some very, very difficult understandings yet to reach,” the official said, adding “everyone still has to make decisions … and we continue to look to Iran to make the ones necessary for an agreement.”