With the deadline for nuclear talks with Iran quickly approaching, many were wondering if an extension may be granted. However, Secretary of State John F. Kerry told media outlets Monday that an extension would be “impossible” if a basic agreement on fundamental principles is not reached by the end of March.
According to the Washington Post, an extension has been granted not once, but twice, in regards to the Iran nuclear talks. Kerry was adamant that a third extension will not be granted should no agreement on basic principles be met by the end of March. In November, no nuclear deals were reached, even though a self-imposed deadline had already been extended by a year. At that time, a second extension was given, pushing the deadline to June. However, Kerry notes that the fundamental principles of the agreement must be met by the end of March or there will be no deal. He says the only foreseeable extension would come if Iran had an approved outline of the agreement that just needed complex details hashed out.
“Well, the only chance I can see of an extension at this point in time would be that you really have the outlines of the agreement. You understand exactly what you’re doing. But if we’re not able to make the fundamental decisions that have to be made over the course of the next weeks, literally, I think it would be impossible to extend… I don’t think we would want to extend at that point. Either you make the decisions to prove your program is a peaceful one, or if you’re unable to do that, it may tell a story that none of us want to hear.”
The nuclear talks with Iran have been ongoing for over a decade and were only revived in 2013 after Hassan Rouhani was elected president. Many in the region are concerned about the potential for Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Israel and the Persian Gulf countries say if they do develop nuclear capabilities, it could trigger an arms race throughout the region.
Meanwhile in Iran, Xinhuanet News says that Iran’s top leaders have said that no deal is better than a bad deal. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says that the Iran can not do anything that would undermine the nation.
“I agree with an agreement [on Iran’s nuclear issue]… but no agreement is better than any agreement which undermines the interests of our nation.”
Khamenei says that Iran has done everything to “logically” fulfill the West’s desires, but it still asks for more.
“To reach an agreement, Iran accepted to temporarily stop developing its [uranium] enrichment machines, producing 20 percent uranium enrichment, and working on Arak [heavy water plant] and Fordow [underground high-grade uranium facility].”
He also warns that if an agreement is not made, Iran will go back to its previous stance and continue uranium development.
“Naturally, if we reach a deadend over Iran’s nuclear issue, both sides will resume their former positions.”