Secretary of State John Kerry said that “we shouldn’t get up and leave” negotiations with Iran “simply because the clock strikes midnight” while assuring that the talks were “not open-ended” during remarks in Vienna on Thursday.
Kerry said, “let me assure you we would not be here continuing to negotiate just for the sake of negotiating. We’re here because we believe we are making real progress toward a comprehensive deal. But as I have said many times, and as I discussed with President Obama last night, we are not going to sit at the negotiating table forever. We also recognize that we shouldn’t get up and leave simply because the clock strikes midnight, and I emphasize, given that the work here is incredibly technical, and that the stakes are very, very high, we will not rush, and we will not be rushed, and we won’t let ourselves be rushed through any aspect of this. All that we are focused on is the quality of the agreement, and that is what will continue to define our work. If, in the end, we are able to reach a deal, it has to be one that can withstand the test of time. It’s not a test of a matter of days or weeks or months. It’s a test for decades. That’s our goal here. And the simple fact is, that despite all of the progress that we have made, and it’s real, some of the tough issues remain unresolved. We know that difficult decisions don’t become easier over time. And one way or the other, those decisions must be taken very soon. That is precisely why all of our delegations remain hard at work here in Vienna, and it’s why a number of my counterparts returned last night, and are here now, so that we can continue to push through on the tough issues and ultimately see whether or not the good deal that we have been working for so hard, is possible to achieve. That’s what we’re working, on and that’s what we’ll continue to work on.”
In response to a question on how long he would be willing to stay , he stated, “I just said, this is not open-ended. President Obama made it very clear to me last night, you can’t wait forever for the decision to be made. We know that. If the tough decisions don’t get made, we are absolutely prepared to call an end to this process.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett