Iranian foreign minister to join nuclear talks on Friday

With significant gaps standing in the way of an Iran nuclear deal, foreign ministers at the seven-nation talks are adding their diplomatic muscle to the negotiations ahead of a June 30 target date for an agreement.


France announced Thursday that Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is joining the talks in Vienna on Saturday. Iranian media reported earlier that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will fly to Vienna on Friday. That’s the day U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry departs Washington for the Austrian capital.


Foreign ministers from the four other nations at the negotiating table — Russia, China, Britain and Germany — are also expected to join in as they try to bridge differences between the sides on the limits Tehran must accept on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.


But with Iran apparently backtracking on key points of the emerging deal, the talks could go past the target date. In a speech on Tuesday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected a long-term freeze on nuclear research and insisted that Iran will only sign a deal if international sanctions are lifted first.


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