U.S., Iran Race to Fill Out Contours Of a Nuclear Agreement

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -
Secretary of State John Kerry,waves outside the hotel during a break from a bilateral meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for a new round of Nuclear Talks, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Keystone,Laurent Gillieron)
Secretary of State John Kerry,waves outside the hotel during a break from a bilateral meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for a new round of Nuclear Talks, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Keystone,Laurent Gillieron)

With less than a week to the deadline for an Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry worked with top Iranian and European officials Wednesday to try to close gaps blocking agreement.a

Racing to fill out a framework for rolling back Iran’s nuclear program and punitive U.S. economic sanctions, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Iranian atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi met again Wednesday in the Swiss city of Lausanne to discuss the technical obstacles to a deal. Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif joined the talks later.

Negotiations are expected to continue until Friday. And although neither side is promising a breakthrough over the next three days, each is hoping to resolve as many lingering issues as possible, from the speed of a U.S. sanctions drawdown to the level of inspections on Iranian nuclear sites.

A sign of an impending deal would be the discussions wrapping up with an announcement of more talks next week and the involvement of America’s negotiating partners: Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. Up to now, Washington and Tehran have mainly negotiated between each other, but all seven countries would have to sign off on an accord.

The governments have set for themselves a deadline on a preliminary deal by the end of March, with a full agreement by July.