Iran president: ‘Significant progress’ in nuclear talks

'It is time to make hard decisions. We want the right deal,' says U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the P5+1 group of world powers and Iran reached agreements in some of the remaining issues during the talks over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Iran’s official news agency, IRNA.

Rouhani said that significant progress was made in nuclear talks which could serve as the basis of the final deal, speaking to reporters on Saturday.

He also underlined that there are still differences.

The Iranian president indicated that an agreement over the nuclear issue will help Iran’s economic development and world peace, according to IRNA.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking at a press conference on Saturday, said, “We have not reached the finish line yet, but make no mistake, we have the opportunity to try to get this right.

“Once again let me also be clear. We do not want just any deal. If we had, we could have announced something a long time ago. Clearly, since the joint plan of action was agreed, we are not rushing. This is a two-and-half-year process but we recognize that fundamental decisions have to be made now and they do not get any easier as time goes by,” Kerry said.

“It is time to make hard decisions. We want the right deal,” he said.

Later on Saturday, the foreign ministers of the U.K., France and the U.S. issued a joint statement marking “substantial progress” and recognizing the “important moment” in negotiations.

The statement said the meetings would resume next week.

Separately, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “The talks were good. We have discussed most of the issues and got results on them.”

The nuclear negotiations started on March 17 in Lausanne between Zarif and Kerry, plus the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Negotiations between the two parties are expected to finish on March 31 with the aim of producing a framework deal.

Iran and the P5+1 countries — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S., the U.K., France, China and Russia, plus Germany — reached an interim agreement on Nov. 24, 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, when Western sanctions on Iran were eased, and Iran halted some of its uranium enrichment activities.

The P5+1 group and Iran are aiming to reach an agreement before the final deadline on July 1.