Negotiators, past deadline, resume talks in bid for Iran framework deal


(JTA) — Negotiators for the world powers and Iran resumed talks two days after the deadline for arriving at a preliminary accord on Iran’s nuclear program.

The negotiators picked up the talks on Thursday after holding discussions overnight until about 6 a.m. before breaking for several hours, according to reports. They are attempting to formulate a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

Though the United States has been pushing for a framework agreement with specific limits, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, suggested the accord would instead be a general statement, The New York Times reported Thursday.

“There will be a statement to the press, which should be announced, but the text still has to be worked on,” Zarif said, according to the Iranian news agency Mehr, the Times reported.

The Obama administration has threatened to walk away from the talks and increase sanctions against Iran if no framework agreement can be achieved.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has remained at the negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, despite being scheduled to leave over the weekend.

Representatives of six major world powers — the United States, Germany, France, China, Russia and Britain — have been negotiating with Iran for days in an effort to meet the self-imposed March 31 deadline for the framework accord on Iran’s nuclear program. The framework is intended to set the stage for a full and comprehensive accord to be reached by the end of June.

As the March deadline loomed on Tuesday, talks were extended one day. Late in the day Wednesday, they were extended again.

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