Iran nuclear talks extended to Monday

Iran nuclear talks extended to Monday
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Talks between Iran and six world powers are being extended until Monday, a U.S. official said Friday.

A final deal was supposed to have been reached by June 30, but negotiators have already blown multiple cutoffs, raising questions about whether a final agreement is attainable. 

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An interim agreement set to expire on Friday will be extended to give negotiators more time.

“To allow for the additional time to negotiate, we are taking the necessary technical steps for the measures of the [interim nuclear deal] to remain in place through July 13,” a senior State Department official in Vienna told Reuters

Negotiators from the U.S., Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China are pursuing a historic agreement to cut off Tehran's path to a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting sanctions. 

The parties appeared to have made progress on several sticking points in the last few days, including the scope of inspections on Iran’s nuclear sites.

But the sides have encountered several last-minute obstacles, including Iran’s demand that a United Nations embargo on conventional weapons be lifted. 

The U.S. opposes lifting the embargo, but Russian officials have supported it, causing a split in the group of countries negotiating with Tehran. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday accused the U.S. of shifting its demands. 

“This situation has made the work difficult,” he said on Iranian state television, according to The Associated Press

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe enemy of my enemy is my friend — an alliance that may save the Middle East Democratic governors fizzle in presidential race A lesson of the Trump, Tlaib, Omar, Netanyahu affair MORE on Thursday warned that he is willing to walk away from the talks, while signaling he will continue negotiating as long as progress can be made. 

“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,” Kerry said. “We also recognize that we shouldn’t get up and leave simply because the clock strikes midnight.”

Kerry declined to put a timetable on when a final agreement might be reached, raising the prospect of indefinite talks.