In Iran Nuke Talks, Obama Ordered John Kerry To Ignore Deadline

AP Photo/Brian Snyder
AP Photo/Brian Snyder

The Iranian nuclear talks have now continued well past the March 31 deadline, as Secretary of State John Kerry signaled that he would remain in Switzerland today with the Iranians to continue looking for a deal.

That was Obama’s decision, according to the New York Times, citing two people familiar with the talks.

During an administration video conference with Kerry and his team of negotiators on the evening of deadline day, Obama instructed them to ignore the deadline but at the same time make it clear that that he was prepared to walk away, according to the Times.

That left White House press secretary Josh Earnest in the difficult position of trying to explain to reporters that the talks would continue past the deadline, but were not open-ended.

“We believe it’s important to leave ample time for those conversations and so that’s why I’ve been unwilling to set a definitive, though arbitrary, date — but at the same time try to be clear about the fact that we’re not operating in an open-ended environment here,” he explained to reporters during the White House press briefing on Wednesday.