Diplomats in Vienna missed the 4th consecutive deadline for wrapping up talks on Iran’s nuclear program Monday.
A report over the weekend by the Associated Press stated a final deal would be announced Monday. There was some apparent confusion Monday morning, but later in the day Javad Zarif, Iran’s lead negotiator, made clear there would be no agreement before Tuesday.
Originally the deadline for negotiations was June 30th. When it became clear that deadline would be missed, negotiators extended it a week to July 7th. That deadline was also missed, and the talks were extended again to Friday July 10th. Having missed the July 10th deadline, the talks were extended once again until Monday.
The Obama administration had hoped negotiations would wrap up before a hard deadline at midnight EST on July 9th. That was the cutoff for any proposal to be reviewed by Congress within 30 days. Having missed that deadline last week, Congress will now have 60 days to consider the deal and, for the deal’s opponents, that means more time to potentially rally people against it.
In a report on the negotiations published Monday afternoon the Associated Press said the completed deal could be announced early Tuesday morning. The same report notes there are still several outstanding issues yet to be resolved. One is the removal of an arms embargo against Iran, a position the Iranian team raised in the negotiations just last week. China and Russia have signaled support for this position, but the U.S. is reportedly worried Iran will use money it accrues after sanctions are lifted to funnel additional weapons to regional conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
Another unresolved issue in the talks is the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s prior nuclear research. The UN has compiled documents from western intelligence services showing Iran had a nuclear weapons program in place prior to 2003. Iran has long denied this, claiming the documents are forged. The U.S. fact sheet on the Lausanne agreement in April made the resolution of the IAEA’s questions about this past research a prerequisite for sanctions relief, but Iran has continued to deny it had such a program.