US, Iranian Nuclear Negotiators Meet in Vienna

 US, Iranian Nuclear Negotiators Meet in Vienna

U.S. and Iranian negotiators met Wednesday in Vienna to try to iron out differences in a nuclear agreement, one day after world powers extended yet another deadline to complete a final deal.

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman met with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi Wednesday. No details of their meeting were immediately released.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz met with Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi twice Wednesday for a total of nearly three hours, a senior U.S. administration official said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are staying in Vienna, although it is unknown if they will meet.

Kerry met Wednesday with members of the U.S. negotiating team

The foreign ministers of the five other nations at the negotiating table have left Vienna.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was expected back later Wednesday along with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Wang Yi of China have announced no immediate plans to return, suggesting negotiators were still not close to a deal.

Negotiators have now given themselves until Friday to come up with a comprehensive accord.

All seven ministers had arrived to Vienna over the past few days in hopes their added diplomatic weight would clinch agreement.

But they decided to leave after talks were extended to Friday, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov telling The Associated Press the sides were still apart over nearly 10 issues.

A Western diplomat in the Austrian capital said late Tuesday the talks with Iran are not «open-ended» and have just been extended for the last time.

The envoy from an unnamed country told reporters «it’s difficult to see why and how we could go on any longer. Either this works in the next 48 hours or it doesn’t.»

It is the fourth time the parties have extended the interim deal struck in November 2013 that gave Iran limited sanctions relief in return for its restricting its nuclear program, including halting production of 20 percent enriched uranium.