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LAUSANNE, Switzerland — United States, Iran and European Union leaders working on a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program took a several-hour pause to sleep early Thursday after a marathon session that lasted through the night.
Two days beyond the longstanding deadline to reach a deal, the all-night talks were focused on whether the U.S. and EU would agree to ease banking, oil and financial sanctions, apart from United Nations sanctions, officials said. The discussions ended around 6:05 a.m. local time (midnight ET).
Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif later resumed negotiations after a three-and-a-half hour break.
Speaking to reporters early Thursday, Zarif said that there had been significant progress but no deal yet.
"We don't have any final result yet," he said. "What we expect to do at this stage is to set out the parameters of resolutions for the issues that need to be resolved in order to write and draft and hopefully agree within almost three months on the comprehensive plan of action which will be the final product."
Marie Harf, the State Department's acting spokeswoman, said Wednesday that Kerry would remain in Lausanne, Switzerland, for at least another day because "we continue to make progress but have not reached a political understanding."
President Barack Obama previously ordered Kerry and Energy Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who are leading the U.S. negotiating team, to ignore the initial deadline for a deal of Tuesday at midnight. Obama also warned them to be prepared to walk away from the talks if circumstances warranted such a step.