Date
30 May 2017
John Kerry and US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman faces awkward choices if no deal is reached within the extended deadline. Photo: AP
John Kerry and US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman faces awkward choices if no deal is reached within the extended deadline. Photo: AP

Embattled Iran nuclear talks panel working beyond deadline

Negotiators are working past Tuesday’s deadline to try to close a deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

A handful of the thorniest issues remain outstanding, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The United States, which is leading six major powers in the talks with Tehran in Vienna, said progress is being made across every area but officials warned there’s no guarantee an agreement will be struck under an extended deadline.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters the two sides weren’t formally extending the deadline but would effectively stop the clock on the talks.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that there were still more than half a dozen points of discord blocking a deal.

“The news is, we are continuing the negotiations in these hours. You might see some ministers leaving in the next hours and then ready to come back in the coming hours and days,” said Mogherini, who chairs the six-power group.

Mogherini said the negotiations have hit the most difficult and sensitive final issues, but an agreement “is still possible.”

The US State Department said the measures Iran and the six powers agreed under an interim deal would now be extended by three days to July 10.

It is the third time since July 2014 that those measures have been prolonged.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry and the US side face awkward choices.

If no deal is done before Thursday, Congress will have an extra month to review the agreement before voting on it, giving more time for critics to galvanize opposition.

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