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Iran FM: Progress Made in 'Very Difficult' Nuclear Talks

From left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hold a trilateral meeting in Vienna, Austria, Oct. 15, 2014.

Iran's foreign minister said on Thursday that progress was made in "very difficult'' nuclear talks in Vienna this week when possible solutions were discussed, sources who attended his briefing for Iranian media said.

Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke after a meeting on Wednesday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton that lasted some six hours in the Austrian capital.

“It was very difficult, serious and intensive ... but instead of focusing on problems, we discussed solutions as well,” he said, the sources told Reuters. “There was progress in all the fields.”

Zarif also said he would next meet Kerry and Ashton in three to four weeks' time, Iranian state television reported. Ashton coordinates talks with Iran on behalf of six world powers, including the United States.

'Still need serious discussions'

However, “we still need serious discussions over various issues,” he said, according to Iran's IRIB news website.

Iran and the powers - the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain - aim to end a decade-long standoff over Iran's nuclear program by a Nov. 24 target date.

With less than six weeks to go, Western officials say important differences still remain, especially over the future scope of Iran's production of enriched uranium, which can have civilian as well as military uses.

But Zarif said none of the parties involved believed in extending the self-imposed late November deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement, IRIB said.

Another top Iranian negotiator last week raised the possibility of such an extension and Russia has also suggested more time may be needed.

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