Iran nuclear talks are ''making progress,'' says U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry but negotiators still wrestle with sticking points. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
STORY: A year and half of nuclear talks between Iran and major powers were creeping towards the finish line on Friday (July 3) as negotiators wrestled with sticking points including questions about Tehran's past atomic research. Iran is in talks with the United States and five other powers - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia - on an agreement to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif seemed to be reading from the same script as they spoke to reporters before a meeting with their top aides on Friday evening in Vienna. "We are making progress," Kerry said. "We have some tough issues but there's a genuine effort by everybody to be serious about this, to understand the time constraints we are working under. So we will continue to work tonight, tomorrow, Sunday and we certainly both want to try and see if we can arrive at a conclusion." Zarif added: "I agree. We are all trying very hard in order to be able to move forward and we have made some progress. There are still tough issues to discuss." Still, all sides say a deal is within reach. U.S., European and Iranian officials, including U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Iranian deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takhteravanchi, held a six-hour negotiating session that ended at 3 a.m. local time on Friday, a senior U.S. official said. The negotiators missed a June 30 deadline for a final agreement, but have given themselves until July 7, and foreign ministers not already in Vienna are due to return on Sunday for a final push. A deal, if agreed, would require Iran to severely curtail uranium enrichment work for more than a decade to ensure it would need at least one year's "breakout time" to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a single weapon, compared with current estimates of two to three months.