Russian officials say that the West and Iran remain “far apart” on the terms of a final P5+1 nuclear deal, but officials from both sides remain upbeat about the possibility of reaching a deal before the interim pact ends in July.
President Obama, in a New Years message to Iran, says that there is a “chance to reach an agreement,” but only if Iran agrees to new, non-specific concessions. He also said Iran would be allowed to have access to nuclear energy.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also termed the talks difficult, but said he saw signs of “an understanding” that is starting to emerge, and remains confident the deal could happen by June.
Zarif also said Iran was willing to revise the design of the Arak reactor to end Western complaints about its production of plutonium as a waste product. He added this might involve converting Arak to a light-water reactor.