Iran, World Powers Fail to Reach Nuclear Agreement by Deadline

   < < Go Back
from The Wall Street Journal,

Talks Extended for Seven Months.

World powers failed to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran and extended talks for seven months, exposing deep divides between the sides and putting the diplomatic effort at risk from domestic discord in the nations involved.

After negotiators failed Monday for the second time this year to meet a deadline for a deal, diplomats said they needed until the end of June 2015 to finalize the terms. They agreed to roll over an interim agreement signed last year that caps some of Iran’s nuclear work in exchange for an easing of Western economic sanctions.

Secretary of State John Kerry lobbied for the extension at the latest round of talks in Vienna, arguing significant progress had been made and a breakdown in negotiations risked further destabilizing the Middle East.

“The nuclear program in Iran as we negotiate is frozen,” Mr. Kerry told reporters at the end of a week of exhaustive negotiations with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif. “We would be fools to walk away from a situation where the breakout time has already been expanded rather than narrowed, and where the world is safer because this program is in place.”

The U.S. and its allies suspect Iran’s nuclear work is aimed toward producing a weapon, something Tehran has repeatedly denied.

The extension leaves the process vulnerable to greater domestic opposition in the U.S. Republican lawmakers poised to gain control of the U.S. Congress in January quickly challenged the Obama administration’s right to continue its Iranian outreach.

A number of senators called for the quick imposition of new economic sanctions on Iran, citing the lack of an agreement despite more than a year of talks.

Iranian officials have said they’ll pull out of the diplomacy if these new financial penalties are put in place.

More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):