Iran and major powers will continue negotiations on an historic nuclear deal past Tuesday’s deadline for a long-term agreement, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.
“We are continuing to negotiate for the next couple of days. This does not mean we are extending our deadline,” Mogherini told reporters.
The deal under discussion between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States is aimed at curbing Tehran’s most sensitive nuclear work for a decade or more, in exchange for relief from sanctions that have slashed Iran’s oil exports and crippled its economy.
“We might see some ministers leaving in the next hours and then ready to come back,” Mogherini said.
“We are interpreting in a flexible way our deadline, which means that we are taking the time, the days we still need, to finalize the agreement,” she said, adding that there remained several difficult issues to resolve.
The negotiators missed a June 30 deadline for a final agreement and then gave themselves until Tuesday.
An interim nuclear agreement between Iran and six major powers will be extended through Friday to provide more time for talks on a final agreement, the United States said on Tuesday.
“We’ve made substantial progress in every area, but this work is highly technical and high stakes for all of the countries involved,” Marie Harf, the spokeswoman for the U.S. delegation, said in a statement.
“We’re frankly more concerned about the quality of the deal than we are about the clock, though we also know that difficult decisions won’t get any easier with time - that is why we are continuing to negotiate,” she added.