Deadline for Deal May Need Adjustments

Deadline for Deal May Need AdjustmentsDeadline for Deal May Need Adjustments

The White House said on Monday the June 30 deadline for Iran and its international negotiating partners to agree on a final deal that would end a long-running dispute over Tehran's nuclear program may need adjustments.

Citing the extra three days negotiators took to reach the Geneva agreement in 2013, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in this case as well, the deadline, although now "firm", may be pushed back, Reuters reported. Elsewhere, US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said it cannot yet be said for sure whether the deadline can be met.

"I just think that it would be counterproductive for me to speculate up here and hypothesize about any possible work past June 30. The teams are working hard in Vienna. We need to let them do their work. Everybody's focused on that day. And we'll see where we are in a week," he told reporters at a press briefing on Monday.

"The date is not more important than the deal," he noted, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the website of the state department.

Asked whether it would mean some kind of breakdown or that the deal is not feasible if the discussions go beyond the target date, Kirby said, "It depends on what the issues outstanding are."

"I mean, in Lausanne in April they went a couple of days over the self-imposed deadline and obviously they weren't of a nature that prevented reaching that agreement. So I mean, I can't answer the question right now since – because we're not there yet. It's just going to depend," he explained.

Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) reached an outline agreement in the Lausanne talks on April 2 and are now trying to work out the details of a comprehensive accord.

Commenting on the Majlis move to pass a bill banning any access to military and security centers and to nuclear documents and scientists beyond the conventional procedures of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the framework of the safeguards agreement with the UN nuclear watchdog, Kirby said, "Our expectation is that Iran will meet all the parameters in the agreements made in Lausanne."

  Many Voices  

"Of course there's final negotiations going on right now, and those require being able to provide the necessary access to IAEA inspectors so that the agreements can be fully verified. There's going to be – there are – there have been many voices in this process on all sides. There will continue to be many voices in this process."

"But, as we've said before, no deal is better than a bad deal," he stressed.

Asked whether the final deal itself might contain parameters for access that would be subject to further negotiations after the finalization of the deal, he said, "What is true is that at Lausanne in April, it was agreed that Iran would provide the parameters to allow the necessary access by IAEA inspectors."

"That was agreed in April, and that agreement is still in effect. That does not constitute the final deal, though, and that's what they're working out right now," he said, declining to go into more details.