Iran nuclear negotiations extended to July 7

The Iran nuclear program's heavy water reactor at Arak. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 nations (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany) missed a June 30 deadline for a final agreement and have a new deadline of July 7.

Last week, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected several key components agreed to under the framework nuclear deal in April, such as a long-term freeze on nuclear research, delayed lifting of international sanctions, and access by inspectors to all nuclear sites (including military ones).

“There are red lines which we cannot cross and some very difficult decisions,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said. 

“There are a number of different areas where we still have major differences of interpretation in detailing what was agreed at Lausanne,” Hammond added.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday that the deal with Iran must be “very robust” if it would be able to prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

“We have made some progress, but still it is not the end of the process,” Fabius told reporters Monday.

France, which has taken a hard line in talks with Iran, has laid out several key demands, according to Fabius, including limitations on Iranian nuclear research and production, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s ability to verify any agreement, and snapback mechanisms for sanctions, the Associated Press reported.  

U.S. President Barack Obama must submit a nuclear deal to Congress by July 9, and lawmakers would then have 30 days to review the pact. If negotiations go beyond July 9, Congress would have 60 days to review the deal—more time to potentially nix the agreement.

Posted on June 30, 2015 .