by Jasmin Ramsey
Washington—Six days of negotiations in Vienna failed to produce a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program by the Nov. 24 deadline, but the talks have been extended until July 1, 2015.
A second deadline for a political framework deal has been set by Iran and the P5+1 (US, Russia, China, UK, France plus Germany) for March 1, 2015.
As part of the extension, the terms of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) signed on this day last year in Geneva—in which Iran receives 700 million a month of its own revenue while maintaining the freeze on its nuclear program—will remain in place.
“Some ideas have been developed, but given the technical nature of this effort and the decisions needed, more work is required to assess and finalize them as appropriate,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton in a joint statement during the final press conference in Vienna.
Separately, Zarif told reporters that he didn’t expect a final deal to require the entire 7 months allotted by the extension to reach a “political solution.”
“I do not believe we need much more time,” he said.
“We don’t want just any agreement. We want the right agreement,” said Secretary of State John Kerry during a short briefing with reporters in the Austrian capital today.
“The world is safer than it was just one year ago,” added Kerry. “It is safer than we were before we agreed on the Joint Plan of Action, which was the interim agreement.”
“We’ve made progress and we need the time to finish,” he said.
From Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said progress had been made but differences still remained during a television broadcast in which he assured the nation that a deal would be reached.
“This way of negotiation will reach a final agreement. Most of the gaps have been removed,” he said.
He also praised the country’s negotiating team, led by Zarif, and what he described as a new understanding among world powers that Iran would not be forced into a final deal through pressure.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hammond told reporters earlier in the day that meetings would resume next month.
“There will be further meetings in December and our clear target is to reach a headline agreement, an agreement on substance in the next three months or so,” he added.
“Extending talks beyond 24 November will not be easy,” said Ali Vaez, the senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, from Vienna. “But it is the least bad option.”
Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, who has consistently criticized the talks, meanwhile said there was “positive side” to missing the deadline.
But the extension will likely result in more domestic hurdles for the Obama administration from Washington.
Hardline voices in Tehran will also likely grow louder in the coming months.
“Nothing!” read the headline of Vatan-e-Emrooz, a conservative Iranian newspaper on Nov. 25, the day after the talks failed to reach an accord. “One year has passed since the Geneva deal; the nuclear talks haven’t got anywhere when it comes to removing sanctions,” said an article on its front page.
Separately, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a UN-monitoring organization, released a report today indicating that Iran continues to implement its commitments under the terms of the JPOA.
Photo: The Ministers of the P5+1 and Iran pose for photographs in Vienna after talks failed to reach an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program on Nov. 24, 2014. Credit: ISNA/Mona Hoobehfekr
*This article will be updated as more details become available. Follow Lobelog on Twitter for more updates.