No Deal as Iran Nuke Talks Head to Overtime

Diplomats near 7-month extension of talks
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2014 7:54 AM CST
No Deal as Iran Nuclear Talks Head to Overtime
Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier, China's Wang Yi, ex-EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, France's Laurent Fabius, Britain's Philip Hammond, John Kerry, and Russia's Sergey Lavrov, from left.   (AP Photo/Ronald Zak, Pool)

World powers made headway on Iran's nuclear program over the weekend, but not enough to make tonight's midnight deadline: Talks, however, look like they'll be extended for seven more months, with a "well-placed" US diplomat telling the AP this morning that they're near an agreement on that front. The new deadline for a political deal would be March 1, with all details ironed out by July 1. The group—including US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and diplomats from Britain, France, China, Germany, and Russia—will likely meet again in a "yet-to-be-determined location" in December, according to an email sent to Reuters by an unidentified Western diplomat.

Holding things up, among other issues, is the sanctions-lifting process itself, CNN reports: While some in Iran feel that there should be an immediate "lifting of significant sanctions"—including energy and banking penalties—to show the other countries' sincere intentions, the P5+1 members meeting in Vienna, along with Germany, have stated they'd prefer to lift them gradually to keep an eye on Iran. This mistrust may not be unwarranted: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran isn't letting his group in to check out a military complex, CNN notes. Also putting some pressure on an agreement: the fact that Republicans will be taking control of the Senate in January and may make Iran skittish with talks of new sanctions. (One person who hasn't been optimistic about the talks from the get-go: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.)

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