World Bulletin/News Desk
World powers and Iran may not be able to secure a deal on curbing Tehran's nuclear programme before their Nov. 24 deadline, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
The six powers - Russia, China, the United States, France, Britain and Germany - want to ensure Iran's nuclear programme does not enable it to build nuclear weapons, though Iran says its nuclear work is for civil needs.
"It is not completely ruled out that more time could be needed to reach a mutually beneficial compromise," Lukashevich was quoted by Interfax news agency as telling reporters.
"We have emphasised that all parties are striving to meet this deadline. But what is more important, a deadline or a real agreement?"
France also said on Thursday that important questions still needed to be resolved regarding Iran's nuclear programme but that it hoped to reach an agreement by Nov. 24.
"I hope that we will be able to achieve an agreement but there are still key questions to resolve," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said at a news conference with Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni.
"I can't make any predictions at this time. I think it will only be on the day of the 24th that we'll be able to make an assessment," Fabius said.
The minister added that he was setting aside a couple of days and nights to go to Vienna if needed for the end of the Iran talks, which are due to run from Nov. 18-24.
Russia has traditionally had closer ties with Iran than other participants of the talks, after constructing the nuclear power station in Bushehr on the coast of the Persian Gulf.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said this week Moscow was doing all it could to help secure an agreement and he expressed optimism a deal could be secured before Nov. 24.
The agreement is meant to assure the West that Iran's nuclear programme would not be used for military ends in return for a possible easing of sanctions on Iran.
Some diplomats have said a simple extension of the negotiations is possible, and a senior Iranian official said this could be done until March. The talks have already been extended - by four months in July.Last Mod: 13 Kasım 2014, 16:20