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Deadline for Iran talks pushed back to July 7

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Negotiations aimed at ending Iran’s nuclear program have been extended one week to July 7, the State Department announced Tuesday.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said that the talks were extended “to allow more time for negotiations to reach a long-term solution.”

{mosads}The Obama administration’s push to secure a deal by a June 30 deadline was expected to be missed as negotiators have struggled in recent weeks to agree on terms over a framework deal released in April. 

U.S. officials and leaders from Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia have spent months negotiating to lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for new limits on its nuclear program for more than a decade.

Iran’s lead negotiator, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, rejoined the talks early Tuesday after a brief trip to Tehran to speak with leaders there. He met with Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday.

“My hope is that they can achieve an agreement, but my instructions to them have been extremely clear,” President Obama said of U.S. negotiators on Tuesday during a press conference with Brazil’s president in Washington.

“I’ve said from the start, I will walk away from negotiations if in fact it’s a bad deal.”

Obama stressed that international inspectors must be able to verify that Iran’s pathways to obtaining a nuclear weapon have been closed. 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged this week that talks would likely extend past the Tuesday deadline, but said a final agreement “is within our sights.”

Negotiators have been at odds over the scope of inspections and pace of sanctions relief. If an agreement is reached before July 9 and presented to Congress, lawmakers would have 30 days to review it. 

But if Congress doesn’t have a chance to weigh in until after the summer recess, that could extend the review period to 60 days, which supporters fear could allow opponents to further mobilize against it. 

Lawmakers are also pushing for conditions to ensure Iran complies with any final accord.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) on Tuesday called for inspectors to have access to Iran’s nuclear facilities on military sites.

“It’s logical that any deal with a nuclear pariah and state sponsor of terrorism must require exceptional access for international inspectors,” Royce said in a statement. 

“The standard needs to be ‘go anywhere, anytime’ – not go ‘some places, sometimes,’” Royce added, referring to Iran previously denying access to some sites.

Diplomats said Tuesday that Iran had complied with key provisions to significantly reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium, according to The Associated Press. An official report from the International Atomic Energy Agency is expected Wednesday.

This story was updated at 1:16 p.m.

Tags Iran Iran nuclear talks John Kerry

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