Obama: Extending Iran nuclear talks not 'useful'

President Obama on Monday dismissed a possible extension of Iranian nuclear talks if negotiators can't secure concrete concessions from Tehran by the June 30 deadline, saying more time would not be “useful.”


"The issues now are sufficiently narrowed and sufficiently clarified that we're at a point now that they need to make a decision," Obama said.

The negotiations have been twice extended, but Obama said during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the time had come for Iran to move forward.

"I don't see a further extension being useful if they have not agreed to the basic formulation and the bottom line the world requires," Obama said.

He said that earlier delays had been expected because of the complexity of the negotiations, adding that the current complications, however, "are no longer technical."

"The issues now are: Does Iran have a political will and a desire to get a deal done?" the president said.

Obama acknowledged that there were hardliners in Iran who did not trust the United States, but said a deal shouldn't be hard if the regime in Tehran was serious about not wanting nuclear weapons.

"They should be able to get to yes," he added.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also said over the weekend that Iran did not want to extend talks beyond the June deadline. And Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement, obtained by Reuters, that he could support a deal, bolstering the negotiations.

"I would go along with any agreement that could be made. Of course, I am not for a bad deal. No agreement is better than an agreement which runs contrary to our nation's interests," Khamenei said.

Obama said he had an obligation to pursue the diplomatic negotiations as far as they could go, as long as Iran wasn't using the time to advance its nuclear program. Obama said that if the talks failed, the "options are narrow and they're not attractive."