US Focused on Nov. Deadline for P5+1 Talks

US Focused on Nov. Deadline for P5+1 TalksUS Focused on Nov. Deadline for P5+1 Talks

US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf has said the United States is focused on the November 24 target date which has been set by Iran and the major powers to reach a final deal to resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

Commenting on the suggestion that the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) might be extended past November 24, Harf said, "We believe there is sufficient time in the time that remains – adequate, sufficient, enough time – to work through the issues we have, to arrive at a comprehensive agreement by November 24.  "It’s in everyone’s interest to get to a comprehensive agreement that assures the international community that Iran’s program is entirely for peaceful purposes."

"We’re focused on the 24th" she said during a regular press briefing on Friday, according to the website of the US Department of State.  

  Bilateral Talks With US

On the bilateral meeting between Iranian and US delegations and the trilateral meeting between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and US Secretary of State John Kerry scheduled to be held in Vienna on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, she said, "Next week, we’ll be going – as you know, the secretary will have a trilateral meeting with Cathy Ashton and Foreign Minister Zarif. There will be a bilateral US-Iran meeting the day before. There’s enough time. We know what the issues are. There’s a path forward here, but we all need to take it."

  Tough Challenge

Elsewhere, Harf said, "This is a tough challenge, right, and these are tough negotiations. If it were easy, it would have been done a very long time ago."

There is disagreement over "many different issues. But I will say there has been some progress in these talks, but these are tough issues," he said.  

"There are still fairly wide gaps on certain critical issues, and that’s what we’ll be talking about next week. The conversations next week, I will say – the trilat will follow on the two trilateral meetings the three had in New York, at the UN General Assembly, will follow on those conversations. And coming out of that I think we’ll talk a little bit more about what happens between now and the 24th."

On the possibility that Iran and the US hold talks on other issues besides Tehran's nuclear program during their bilateral meeting in Vienna, Harf said, "This is a meeting focused on the nuclear negotiations. As we’ve said, sometimes other issues come up, including last time in New York – ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) came up.

"It would be sort of odd if three leaders of that level met and didn’t talk about what else was going on in the world. But these talks, these negotiations, this trilateral are focused on the nuclear issue."

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Friday the nuclear talks with the six major powers might be extended if the negotiating parties fail to resolve remaining differences by the November 24 target date to strike a final nuclear deal.

"Time is passing quickly and we still hope to reach an agreement by November 24, but if we cannot reach a good result in this round of talks (the Vienna meetings), we will certainly not be able to reach a final agreement by the deadline," the senior nuclear negotiator said.

He added, "Everything is possible. Even it is possible that the talks will be extended."

On the Vienna talks, he said the discussions will focus on the mechanism of lifting sanctions and Tehran's uranium enrichment program, adding, "We are hopeful that the talks will pave the way for resolving the remaining issues."