US Still Focusing on June 30 Deadline for Iran Nuclear Talks

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

As time ticks down to less than two weeks until the self-imposed deadline for world powers to reach a deal with Iran over the latter’s nuclear program, the US isn’t interested in extending the deadline prematurely. In fact, they want to keep the pressure on. “We are still focused on June 30th,” US spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday in comments released by the State Department.

“And Secretary [of State John] Kerry has shown no wavering off of that now. He’s still committed to trying to get this deal done by the end of June, so there’s been no change to that.” Kirby later acknowledged that they didn’t want to encourage anyone to not push for the June 30 goal by extending the timeframe now. This came one day after Kirby vociferously argued that the US hasn’t changed their position on possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program as part of the talks.

Kirby was pressed intensely by reporters questioning the American commitment to resolving the question of what Iran has researched regarding nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has long sought answers from Iran but hasn’t received the necessary access to confirm what Iran has or hasn’t done.

Clearing that up has long been perceived as a demand by the US for reaching a deal with Iran that would reduce sanctions in exchange for Iranian nuclear concessions. The goal of any deal is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons through supervision and restrictions on Iran’s program.

Kirby was quoted by a State Department press release as telling reporters, “I just said ad nauseam that the IAEA’s concerns about possible military dimensions past and present have to be fully addressed before there’s going to be a deal. And if they don’t get the access that they need to address and resolve their concerns, then there’s not going to be a deal.”

This came after a key US legislator expressed his concerns over where the Iranian nuclear talks were going. Senator Bob Corker was especially adamant about inspections and understanding Iran’s past in a letter to US President Barack Obama, which was posted on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations website.

“Regarding inspections, surely your administration and those involved in the negotiations will adhere to an ‘anytime, anywhere’ standard. No bureaucratic committees. No moving the ball. No sites off limits,” wrote Corker.

“…Today, the IAEA cannot get access to information Iran agreed to share pursuant to a 2013 agreement. By not requiring Iran to explicitly disclose their previous weaponization efforts on the front end of any final agreement, we will likely never know, in a timely fashion, the full extent of Iranian capabilities.”

Corker urged the Administration to get a good deal, or none at all.

“As your team continues their work, if Iran tries to cross these few remaining red lines, I would urge you to please pause and consider rethinking the entire approach. Walking away from a bad deal at this point would take courage, but it would be the best thing for the United States, the region and the world.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, June 18, 2015)

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