A US official says talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries over Tehran’s nuclear program may be extended a few days beyond a self-imposed June 30 deadline.
“We may not make June 30, but we will be close,” AFP quoted an unnamed senior US administration official as saying on Thursday.
The comments come ahead of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to the Austrian capital city of Vienna on Friday for talks on Iran’s nuclear case in a final push to seal a historic agreement with Tehran.
“What matters here is the substance of the deal and we have to get it right,” the official added, stressing that the deadline would only “slip” by a few days.
The source further said the negotiating sides plan to remain in Vienna “until we get this done, or find out we can’t. And our intent is to get it done.”
On Wednesday, Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht, the spokesman of the Iranian administration, said the Islamic Republic would agree to an extension of the nuclear talks if it believes that the negotiations can lead to a “good agreement.”
“If the good deal that is sought by the Islamic Republic is not struck and there remain obscurities that could be settled with the extension of talks, we will naturally agree to the extension,” he said.
On June 22, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Press TV that reaching a good deal with the P5+1 on Tehran’s peaceful nuclear activities has priority over meeting the self-imposed June 30 deadline.
Referring to the notion of sanctions against Iran, the American official, meanwhile, noted that the bans would only be lifted “as Iran takes the nuclear steps agreed, including addressing” the so-called possible military dimensions (PMDs).
This is while Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has recently said that all economic, monetary and banking sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council and the United States against Iran must be immediately lifted on the day of signing a possible final nuclear deal, while other bans must be terminated on a rational time schedule.
“The lifting of sanctions must not be contingent on the implementation of Iran’s undertakings. They should not say that you (Iran) should fulfill your commitments and the [International Atomic Energy] Agency (IAEA) should then verify it in order for the sanctions to be lifted. We do not accept this issue at all,” Ayatollah Khamenei stated.
The Leader further expressed Iran’s firm opposition to “unconventional inspections, questioning Iranian figures, and the inspection of military sites” as other red lines for the country.
Representatives from Iran and the P5+1 group – the United States, the UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany – are holding extensive talks in Vienna to finalize the text of a possible deal over Tehran’s nuclear program by the end of June.
The two sides are seeking to seal a comprehensive deal based on the mutual understanding on the key parameters agreed upon in the Swiss city of Lausanne on April 2.