Updated 04:52 a.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, September 26 (RIA Novosti) - Tehran and the group of six international mediators have made tremendous progress on their talks to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem once and for all, although the final round of negotiations will probably be the most difficult, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was quoted as saying Friday following a meeting with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani.
"We have never been so close to a deal as now. But the truth is that the final phase of the talks that lay before us is probably the most difficult," Reuters cited Steinmeier as telling journalists on the heels of the talks.
He stressed that a collapse of the current talks was "not permissible."
On Wednesday, the P5+1 group of international mediators comprising Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Germany met with the Iranian delegation in New York but failed to reach an agreement with Tehran on any of the key issues surrounding Iran's nuclear program.
But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday reaffirmed Tehran's readiness to continue work on securing a historic nuclear deal with the West. He underscored however that Iran was not going to give up its peaceful nuclear program.
Rouhani also warned that a delay in negotiations and in reaching a comprehensive agreement would hurt nations in the Middle East.
During Geneva talks last year, mediators agreed to reach a deal guaranteeing the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program by July 2014. The deadline for the agreement was later postponed to November 2014.
The West and Israel accuse Iran of attempting to develop a nuclear weapon under the guise of a civilian nuclear program. Tehran argues that its nuclear development is aimed purely at meeting the country's growing energy needs and achieving other peaceful goals.