Iranian nuclear deal discussions are ‘professional and not easy,’ German Foreign Minister says

The top diplomats from the six world powers leading the nuclear negotiations with Iran hold talks in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday. Below are some of the key moments in the meeting and their tone.

The meeting — which lasted more than seven hours and was extended in the late evening with video calls in progress — was “professional and not easy,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters at a briefing in Vienna. He said the talks were not about “concrete or symbolic agreements,” but were rather a starting point for what he characterized as an important, more prolonged process.

He described the meeting as “tense,” although he said that the atmosphere was positive and the EU and Iranian negotiators had been frank about the gaps remaining in the talks. Maas said the issue for the negotiators was not to “raise the hopes” but rather to prevent the negotiations from “falling apart.”

The attendees:

— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (representing the six powers)

— French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (representing France)

— Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (representing Iran)

— U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (representing the United States)

— German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (representing Germany)

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