Iran Nuclear Talks to Continue Through Weekend; U.S. says it Will Not Continue Negotiations Indefinitely

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stands on a balcony outside of the Iran nuclear talks, being held in Austria. (Carlos Barria/AP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stands on a balcony outside of the Iran nuclear talks, being held in Austria. (Carlos Barria/AP)

The Iran nuclear talks are being extended through the weekend, as officials said on Friday that an interim agreement will remain in place until Monday while the negotiations continue.

The extension is the third since an original deadline of June 30 elapsed without a final agreement being reached between a six-nation group seeking curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Talks between Iran, the United States and other world powers continued through the day Friday. Although it is possible that a deal could be finalized at any time, the extension suggests the torturous negotiations are likely to last another couple of days at least.

Under the 2013 interim agreement extended until Monday, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear production and got some economic sanctions suspended.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Thursday cautioned Iran that the talks are not “open-ended,” and the United States will not stay at the negotiating table indefinitely.

But the costs of walking away are high, even if the parties were to agree to resume negotiations further down the road. Virtually every time there has been a break in the past year and a half of negotiations, the talks have resumed with Iran backtracking on measures already agreed upon, according to administration official.

And lately, Iran has accused the United States and its European partners of doing the same thing. As well as the United States, the six nation group, known as the P5+1, includes Russia, France, Britain, China and Germany.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Friday walked onto the balcony of the Coburg Palace hotel where the talks are being held, and gave pithy answers in Farsi and English to questions shouted out from reporters below.

“We’ve made progress,” he said in English.

Asked if the talks would continue into Monday, he said, “I hope not.”

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SOURCE:  Carol Morello
The Washington Post

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