Newspaper article International New York Times

Kerry Reports Progress and Gaps in Iran Talks

Newspaper article International New York Times

Kerry Reports Progress and Gaps in Iran Talks

Article excerpt

As the deadline for the nuclear talks approaches, Secretary of State John Kerry signaled the need to return to Washington for top- level consultations.

After intensive talks with his Iranian counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that "tangible progress" had been made in negotiations on Iran's nuclear program but acknowledged that "very real gaps" remained.

When the talks began six months ago, it was generally assumed that if an accord to roll back Iran's nuclear program was to be reached, the compromises would be negotiated at the 11th hour.

But as the July 20 deadline approaches, an accord is not yet at hand and Mr. Kerry signaled the need for top-level consultations in Washington on the American negotiating strategy.

"I am returning to Washington today to consult with President Obama and with leaders in Congress over coming days," Mr. Kerry said, "about the prospects for a comprehensive agreement as well as a path forward if we do not achieve one by the 20th of July, including the question whether or not more time is warranted."

In an indication of the complexity of the talks and Mr. Kerry's dogged negotiating style, no sooner did he emerge from his news conference than he began a meeting with Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, and then yet another meeting with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister.

Mr. Kerry declined to comment on the proposal that Mr. Zarif outlined in an interview with The New York Times, saying that he would not negotiate in public.

"The real negotiation is not going to be done in the public eye," he said. "These are tough negotiations."

In the interview with The Times, Mr. Zarif proposed a deal under which Iran would essentially freeze its capacity to produce enriched uranium for several years but would not be subject to constraints on such enrichment after that. …

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