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Iran nuclear talks extended seven months after failing to meet deadline

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Iran and six powers failed for a second time this year on Monday to resolve their 12-year dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and gave themselves seven more months to overcome the deadlock that has prevented them from clinching an historic deal.

Western officials said they were aiming to secure an agreement on the substance of a final accord by March but that more time would be needed to reach a consensus on the all-important technical details.

“We have had to conclude it is not possible to get to an agreement by the deadline that was set for today and therefore we will extend the JPOA to June 30, 2015,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters at the end of the talks.

He was referring to the so-called Joint Plan of Action, an interim deal agreed between the six and Iran a year ago in Geneva, under which Tehran halted higher level uranium enrichment in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions, including access to some frozen oil revenues abroad.

Hammond said the expectation was that Iran would continue to refrain from sensitive atomic activity.

He added that Iran and the powers “made some significant progress” in the latest round of talks, which began last Tuesday in the Austrian capital. Hammond said that there was a clear target to reach a “headline agreement” of substance within the next three months and talks would resume next month.

It is unclear where next month’s talks will take place, he said, noting that during the extension period, Tehran will be able to continue to access around $700 million per month in sanctions relief. A source close to the talks said Vienna and Oman were possible venues for next month’s discussions.

An Iranian official confirmed the extension, as did Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who echoed Hammond’s comments about “substantial progress”.

A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, showed that Iran had reduced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium gas and taken other action to comply with last year’s interim agreement with world powers.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was due to address the Iranian people on television on Monday evening. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was planning to speak to the press in Vienna before returning to the United States.


No details about the “substantial progress” were immediately available. One senior Western diplomat expressed pessimism about the prospects for an agreement in seven months time.

‎”It’s been 10 years that proposals and ideas have been put forward,” he said on condition of anonymity. “There’s nothing left. It’s essentially a side issue now. The Iranians are not moving. It is a political choice.”

“I am skeptical that even if we did extend we will be able to reach a deal,” he said shortly before the extension was announced.

The deadline for a deal, agreed in July when the two sides missed an earlier target date, was Monday.

The Vienna talks have aimed for a deal that could transform the Middle East, open the door to ending economic sanctions on Iran and start to bring a nation of 76 million people in from the cold after decades of hostility with the West.

The cost of failure could be high, and Iran’s regional foes Israel and Saudi Arabia are watching nervously. Both fear a weak deal that fails to curtail Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, while a collapse of the negotiations would encourage Iran to become a threshold nuclear weapon state, something Israel has said it would never allow.

As it appeared likely that no agreement was in the offing, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

The main sticking points in the talks are the scope of Iran’s enrichment program, the pace of lifting sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy and the duration of any deal.

So far, Western officials said Tehran has refused to budge on its demand to continue to operate most of its enrichment centrifuges currently in operation. Tehran blames the West for making excessive demands on the Islamic Republic.

Several Western officials have questioned the value of extending the talks again, saying there is little reason to expect the Iranians will show the flexibility needed to end the impasse in the weeks and months ahead. They have also questioned the Iranian leadership’s desire to compromise.


9 Comments on "Iran nuclear talks extended seven months after failing to meet deadline"

  1. Plantagenet on Mon, 24th Nov 2014 1:23 pm 

    I’m not surprised the talks were extended….again. Obama’s claim that he is going to stop the Iranians from getting a nuclear bomb is clearly a sham.

  2. Makati1 on Mon, 24th Nov 2014 8:43 pm 

    Plant, whether Iran eventually gets nukes or not is not important. It is the lack of freedom for any country to have nukes that wants them, that is the real problem. After the US gave them to Israel, they decided that no one else can have them. That is not a decision for any one or even any dozen countries to decide.

    Suppose Russia had gotten them first and then said no one else can have them? How would you feel on that side of the fence? Iran is no more likely to use them than any other nuclear armed country, but it is a very big deterrent to invasion by the Empire. THAT is why they want them. Example: North Korea.

    We now have a Congress that is even more of a warmongering faction than before. One that believes that a nuclear war is not only survivable but winnable. With psychopaths like that running the country, WW# is only a short time in the future. Maybe tomorrow.

  3. Davy on Mon, 24th Nov 2014 10:14 pm 

    Geeze Mak, where are you coming from Mars? The last thing we need is more NUKs period. Of course you desire is for NUK war. This desire pervades your comments. Your sick Mak. Anyone who wallows in death like you needs help.

  4. Perk Earl on Mon, 24th Nov 2014 11:39 pm 

    At this point Iran is laughing their arses off, as all they have to do is ask and low and behold another extension is provided.

  5. Makati1 on Tue, 25th Nov 2014 1:56 am 

    Perk, you are correct. Iran is not worried. Russia and China has their back, and the Obomination knows it.

  6. Davy on Tue, 25th Nov 2014 5:51 am 

    Perk, the reality is TPTB realize a war in the ME is the end. This is as dangerous for Iran as the west. I suspect the gravity of this situation is being dealt with. There is significant important issues in common for Iran and the west. If we want a little more time for BAU a war in the ME must be avoided at all cost.

  7. JuanP on Tue, 25th Nov 2014 10:44 am 

    I always expected this extension to happen. There has been a clear pattern here.

  8. Perk Earl on Tue, 25th Nov 2014 7:45 pm 

    “If we want a little more time for BAU a war in the ME must be avoided at all cost.”

    That’s true, Davy, however maybe sanctions could be applied? It sends the wrong message to ignore a deadline without any repercussions.

  9. Davy on Tue, 25th Nov 2014 8:15 pm 

    Perk, maybe the US is courting Iran for some Biden reason. It is odd sanctions were not increased.

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