Kerry: ‘We will not rush’ to finalize Iran deal

Kerry: ‘We will not rush’ to finalize Iran deal
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Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryChina, Russia, Iran rise in Latin America as US retreats The Memo: Harris move shows shift in politics of gun control Overnight Defense: Trump ends sanctions waivers for buying Iranian oil | At least four Americans killed in Sri Lanka attacks | Sanders pushes for Yemen veto override vote MORE maintained Thursday that U.S. negotiators are hard at work on finalizing a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear capacity, but he declined to set a timeline for when an agreement might be reached.

In brief remarks after marathon discussions in Vienna, Kerry told reporters that American officials would not rush to meet an artificial deadline, nor would they wait forever to hammer out a deal.

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“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.”

The comments appeared to set the stage for further delays to the administration's timetable for finalizing a deal.

“I emphasize: Given that the work here is incredibly technical and that the stakes are very, very high, we will not rush and we will not be rushed, and we won’t let ourselves be rushed through any aspect of this,” he added.

Obama spoke to the U.S. negotiating team in Vienna for 90 minutes Tuesday via secure video conference, according to the White House. 

Kerry's remarks answered few questions about the prospects for a deal, which has vexed negotiators for weeks now. Officials from the U.S., Iran and five other nations have pushed the deadline back twice and are eyeing a target date of Friday. 

Kerry’s remarks Thursday did not hint that a deal was at hand.

“The simple fact is that despite all of the progress that we have made — and it’s real — some of the tough issues remain unresolved,” he said. “We know that difficult decisions don’t become easier over time. One way or the other, those decisions must be taken very soon.”

Negotiators have appeared to make progress on many of the details of an agreement, but Iran’s insistence on relief from a United Nations embargo on the sale of arms and missiles to the nation has stymied them.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif echoed Kerry's comments.

“We're working hard, but not rushed, to get the job done,” he said on Twitter. “Mark my words; you can't change horses in the middle of a stream."