U.S., Iran Focus On Technical Details In Nuclear Talks

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif walks away after a day long talks with United States Secretary of State John Kerry over Iran's nuclear program in Lausanne

American and Iranian nuclear experts discussed the technical details of a possible framework agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear program in a fresh round of talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Wednesday. Reuters was there:

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, kicked off the negotiations. They were later joined by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, and European Union Political Director Helga Schmid.

“We are discussing the details, which needs a lot of work … We are trying to overcome the differences,” Zarif told reporters. “We can make progress if the other party shows political will,” he said. Speaking to Iranian news media on Tuesday, Salehi said that 90 percent of the technical issues were resolved. Later he said there were one or two remaining issues.

Western diplomats were less optimistic, saying progress had been made in terms of identifying technical options for each of the major areas but there was still a way to go. A U.S. official said any framework agreement settled this month would need to have key details, including specific numbers. “If there is an agreement, I don’t see how it could be meaningful without having some quantitative dimensions,” the U.S. official said, without elaborating.