Global powers wrestling for a historic nuclear deal with Iran gave themselves yet more time Tuesday after foreign ministers failed to bridge what one diplomat called "very, very, very tough" remaining issues. Iran and the P5+1 group -- the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany -- effectively gave themselves until Friday to agree a deal by extending the terms of a 2013 interim accord under which Iran has been curtailing its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief. "Removing the remaining brackets (in the text of the agreement), this seems to be very, very, very tough," the senior diplomat said as an 11th day of talks stretched late into the night in Vienna.
The first officially acknowledged peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul concluded with an agreement to meet again after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Pakistan said on Wednesday. Pakistan hosted the meeting in a tentative step towards ending more than 13 years of war in Afghanistan, in which the Taliban have been fighting the government in hopes of re-establishing their hard-line Islamist regime that was toppled by the U.S.-sponsored military intervention in 2001. Officials from the United States and China were observers in the first official talks held on Tuesday at Murree, a hill resort on the outskirts of Islamabad, a statement from Pakistan's foreign ministry said.