But they said concerns remain about what Kerry described before the meetings as "real gaps" between world powers and Tehran, despite grueling hours spent trying to clear the path for an agreement. Iran's official agency reports that a senior nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, says "we are not in a position to say that we have made progress." However, Araghchi added that Iran is hopeful to reach an agreement before the dateline.

The Oman talks were widely seen as a sort of predictor for the outcome November 24, when the negotiations expire. Two senior State Department officials traveling with Kerry described the meetings as "tough, direct and serious" but still held out hope that a deal could be secured.
If so, it would mark an unprecedented victory after a generation of mutual distrust and between the Islamic Republic and much of the rest of the world. A final agreement could quell Mideast fears about Tehran's ability to build a nuclear bomb, and revitalize a shaky Iranian economy that has been has wounded by harsh Western sanctions.

Asked at a brief photo opportunity on Monday afternoon if they were making progress, Zarif responded: "We will eventually." "We are working hard," Kerry added. But the two sides are not yet there. One of the State Department officials said it's "self-evident" there's still work to be done before a compromise can be reached.  The officials noted that Kerry extended his stay in Oman by several hours to continue the discussions. "I'm not indicating that progress was made in any way," the official said.
Kerry headed out to Beijing, to join President Barack Obama and National Security Adviser Susan Rice at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit today afternoon. The State Department officials said Kerry plans to brief Obama and Rice about the discussions in Oman. "A lot will be determined there, in terms of next steps for us," the second State Department official told.

Latest News from World News Desk