With one deadline already passed and a new deadline rapidly approaching on July 7, the US is saying it’s unclear if a deal on Iran’s nuclear program will be reached or not. On Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in comments released by the State Department, “While I completely agree with [Iranian] Foreign Minister [Mohammad] Zarif that we have never been closer, at this point, this negotiation could go either way.”
The six major world powers—including the US—reached a preliminary deal with Iran early this year, but have struggled to pin down a final agreement that will exchange sanctions relief to Iran for supervision and restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. As another deadline looms, Kerry repeated that the US is prepared to walk away if an acceptable deal can’t be reached. Israel, meanwhile, is concerned the US and its allies are making further concessions as the talks hit the eleventh hour.
“It seems that the nuclear talks in Iran have yielded a collapse, not a breakthrough,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in comments released by his office on Sunday. “The major powers’ concessions are increasing.”
Comparing this nuclear deal being proposed with Iran to the one with North Korea that failed to prevent the North Koreans from obtaining nuclear weapons, Netanyahu said the Iran deal is actually “worse” in his opinion.
“The deal being formulated will pave Iran’s path to the production of very many atomic bombs and it will also channel to Iran hundreds of billions of dollars that will serve its aggression and terrorism campaigns in our region and around the world,” said Netanyahu.
However, reaching even a less than ideal agreement is proving to be a challenge. Kerry said that “over the past few days, we have in fact made genuine progress. But I want to be absolutely clear with everybody: We are not yet where we need to be on several of the most difficult issues.”
He did not say if July 7 would be the final deadline, but did say they were “pushing” to reach a deal by then. Nonetheless, he said his nation still has redlines they won’t cross for an agreement.
“If we don’t get a deal, if we don’t have a deal, if there’s absolute intransigence, if there’s an unwillingness to move on the things that are important, President Obama has always said we’ll be prepared to walk away. It’s not what anybody wants. We want to get an agreement,” said Kerry.
“But I’ve said from the moment I became involved in this we want a good agreement, only a good agreement, and we’re not going to shave anywhere at the margins in order just to get an agreement.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 5, 2015)