U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will remain in Lausanne, Switzerland, until Thursday morning amid marathon nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers that have been extended twice. The negotiations have stalled over the timetable for lifting sanctions against Iran and how to ensure the country abides by the terms of any agreement about its secretive nuclear program.
“We continue to make progress but have not reached a political understanding," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement to the media.
China’s delegation said Wednesday hours after the first extended deadline was broken that if no agreement is made this week it would make all previous efforts to limit Iran’s uranium enrichment program “wasted.”
“It is important to give political guidance to the negotiations,” the Chinese delegation to Lausanne said shortly after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi departed Lausanne, according to Reuters. “It is important to narrow down the differences.”
Cont to make progress; have not reached a pol understanding. @JohnKerry will remain in Lausanne until at least Thurs AM to cont negotiations
â€” Marie Harf (@marieharf) April 1, 2015
Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of countries – U.S., U.K., China, Russia, France and Germany – are trying to formulate an agreement that would lift crippling sanctions against Iran in return for an oversight system ensuring the country’s nuclear program is limited to alternative energy and not extended to making nuclear weapons.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters in Lausanne Wednesday that talks were stalled over the timetable for lifting the economic sanctions and how to immediately reinstate U.N. Security Council resolutions if Tehran violates the terms of any deal.
Both Israel and Saudi Arabia view Iran as a threat to an already unstable part of the world.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he expected a “better deal” than the one offered to Iran.
"The concessions offered to Iran in Lausanne would ensure a bad deal that would endanger Israel, the Middle East and the peace of the world," he said. "A better deal would significantly roll back Iran's nuclear infrastructure. A better deal would link the eventual lifting of the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program to a change in Iran's behavior."