WASHINGTON (JTA) — Iran and the major powers extended their negotiations for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program until June 30.
Officials in Vienna said Monday, the deadline for the talks that were launched in January, that the two sides had agreed to extend the deadline, with the broad outlines of the deal to be in place by the end of March.
Iran would not be granted any additional sanctions relief in this period, the sides said.
It is not clear what is delaying a deal, although reported sticking points have been the period under which Iran must abide by restrictions on its nuclear activity that would keep it from manufacturing a bomb and the pace at which sanctions would be lifted in the event of a deal.
Philip Hammond, the British foreign secretary, told the BBC that missing the deadline was “a disappointment, but rather than continue blindly we have to recognize the reality that we’re not going to make a deal tonight.”
Israel has advocated for a deal that would completely dismantle Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium.
The world powers in the negotiations — the United States, Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany — say that a minimal enrichment capacity is likely to be part of a final deal.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in remarks to the Knesset welcomed the delay, saying it provided more time to prevent what he called a “very bad and dangerous agreement.”
“It is very important that this agreement has been prevented as of now, but a struggle is yet before us and we intend to continue this struggle in order to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state that would endanger us and others,” he said. “Israel will always act on this matter and reserves its right to defend itself by itself.”