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Nuclear talks’ extension mulled if P5+1-Iran fail to reach deadline

22 June 2015 [17:55] - TODAY.AZ

/By AzerNews/

By Sara Rajabova

The six world powers and Iran are now in a sensitive stage of the negotiations to clinch the long-awaited nuclear deal by the June 30 deadline.

However, since the nuclear talks have recently slowed down and the sides have not yet been able to reach a consensus on lingering issues, one can expect an extension of the talks.

Although previously, the negotiators had ruled out any extension of the talks after the deadline, some officials are now considering it a possibility.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister said the Iran-P5+1 talks could exceed the self-imposed June 30 deadline.

Noting that the sides may need a few more days for achieving a comprehensive nuclear deal, Zarif was quoted as having said, “it is better than extending the talks for a new period,” by Iranian media.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also suggested the talks might go on beyond a June 30 deadline, noting Iran will need to show more flexibility to reach a nuclear deal with the six powers, Reuters reported.

Iran and the group P5+1 (the U.S, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) are in intense talks to hammer out a comprehensive nuclear deal by the end of June. The deal is supposed to limit Iran’s nuclear activities on the one hand, and remove sanctions on the country’s economy on the other.

However, despite the lengthy negotiations, the sides still cannot bridge the gaps on resolving some major differences, including the sequencing of sanctions relief and access to Iranian nuclear sites for international monitors.

While Tehran demands the removal of sanctions immediately after clinching a final nuclear deal, some negotiating countries, mainly the U.S., back the gradual lifting of sanctions.

The P5+1 countries are urging Iran to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to enter its military facilities and conduct interviews with Iranian nuclear experts and security officials, but Tehran is staunchly opposed, claiming that these demands are not related to its nuclear program.

The experts also consider that P5+1 and Iran will fail to reach a deadline if the sides cannot come to an agreement on key issues.

Kamran Dadkhah, a professor of economics at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts told AzerNews that all sides of negotiations, but particularly the United States and Iran, are anxious to reach an agreement.

“Nevertheless, there are some individuals and organizations in Iran which have benefited from sanctions. They are not anxious to reach an agreement. Furthermore, we can guess that given the amount of money Iran has spent on nuclear projects, it intends to build an atomic bomb. Hence, the Iranian negotiators are unwilling to accept intrusive inspections that can reveal secret activities,” Dadkhah said.

He considered that a comprehensive agreement that would satisfy both sides cannot be reached by the deadline, noting the P5+1 and Iran can either extend the negotiation timeframe or sign an agreement that would not settle these issues.

“Some countries and companies may decide to have dealings with Iran or invest in it. But these are not going to be the best partners Iran could have. At the same time haggling over details of the agreement will continue,” Dadkhah said.

Furthermore, Mark Hibbs, a research scholar in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said it is unlikely that the parties will manage to reach an agreement before the end of the month, as there are still unresolved questions between the sides.

He told Trend that there is a possibility that the negotiations will be extended, but for a few days or weeks rather than many months.

The expert noted the U.S. and Iran governments are under pressure by opponents of the resolution of Tehran’s nuclear issue through diplomatic means, which complicates the negotiations process.

"In the U.S., Republicans will attack the negotiated outcome to deny President Barak Obama success, and in Iran, sanctions profiteers will do everything in their power to protect their interests," Hibbs said.

The two sides seek to reach a comprehensive final deal based on mutual understanding on the key parameters agreed upon in the Swiss city of Lausanne on April 2.

Iran’s foreign ministry is scheduled to hold meetings with Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief as well as British, French and German counterparts on June 22.

While a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is not yet confirmed, it was announced that Luxembourg is set as the venue for talks between Zarif and the European officials.


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