Iran willing to extend nuclear talks
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Iran willing to extend nuclear talks

July 1 deadline for final accord should not get in the way of a ‘good deal,’ spokesperson says

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, attends a public event at New York University on April 29, 2015. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR)
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, attends a public event at New York University on April 29, 2015. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR)

If Iran and the world powers powers fail to hammer out a nuclear accord by a July 1 deadline, Tehran would be willing accept an extension of talks, an Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman said Wednesday.

In a framework deal signed between the sides in early April, Iran agreed to curb some aspects of its contentious nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.

Israel has warned that the deal in its current form is insufficient and may still enable Iran to to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear project will be used for peaceful purposes only.

“We have said that if the path of drafting the text and reaching a possible agreement requires prolonging the talks, we won’t have any problem and will be ready to do it,” Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said, according to Fars News.

“Progress will show how the trend of talks and drafting of the text has been. If the trend of affairs leads to the point that makes the talks longer than the end of June, this needs to be done,” Afkham said.

“The main job and the comprehensive agreement… is much more important than the timetable that many emphasize, and the important point is reaching a good agreement,” she said.

Analysts believe that growing opposition to the deal in its current form — by some US senators and congressmen, as well as by Israel and Gulf States — may encumber the final round of negotiations.

In addition, Iran has indicated that it will not allow nuclear inspectors to visit military sites or to question scientists — a proposition that may further hogtie diplomats and lead to a deadlock requiring an extension of talks.

The US Senate has lobbied President Barack Obama to predicate a deal on the release of American national and Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who is being held in Tehran on charges of espionage, along with two other Americans.

Iran however, ruled out the possibility of such an arrangement and will opt to try Rezaian in court next week.

“No negotiations have been held on this issue [of Rezaian] and such a thing is not on agenda for future negotiations either,” Afkham said.

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