Khamenei: Nuke talks 'will not lead anywhere'

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday said the current talks over his country’s nuclear program “will not lead anywhere,” Reuters reports.

A renewed round of talks between the P5+1 group, including the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, France and China and Iran, began on Tuesday in Vienna, Austria.

A senior Obama administration official, meanwhile, reiterated on Tuesday there is a 50-50 chance of a final agreement. President Obama made that prediction late last year.

“We don’t know if, at the end of these six months, we will be able to achieve a comprehensive agreement, though we aim to. As President Obama has said, and I quite agree, it’s probably as likely that we won’t get an agreement as it is that we will,” the official said.

The official told reporters it will be a “complicated, difficult and lengthy process.”

The negotiations, which are expected to last a few days, are the first round the six world powers are having with Iran since last year’s interim agreement took effect in January. The interim agreement freezes and rolls back Iran’s nuclear program for six months. 

On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was much more optimistic about the chances for a final agreement compared to the supreme leader.

"We believe we can reach an agreement and we have come here with the political will to reach a final agreement," Zarif said after a meeting, according to The Guardian newspaper.