For the third time within the last two weeks the Powers 5+1 and Iran have agreed to extend the deadline to reach an agreement to end a decades long diplomatic dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. The original, June 30 deadline was passed with little to no negative repercussions. On the other hand, the deadline to submit the deal for review by the U.S. senate by July 9 has resulted in a 60 day review period rather than the originally expedited 30 day review.
Both sides say there has been progress in two weeks of talks, but British Secretary Philip Hammond called it “painfully slow” and he and his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, left Vienna saying they would return on Saturday.
Having missed a Friday morning U.S. congressional deadline, U.S. and European Union officials said they were extending sanctions relief for Iran under an interim deal through Monday to provide more time for talks on a final deal.
Russia’s foreign minister has called for the removal of sanctions which limit Iran’s ability to import and export arms, citing Iran’s leading role in fighting ISIS as the reason. Of course Iran’s connections to terrorist groups and rogue regimes would also benefit if these sanctions are removed.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has stated that any deal must be verifiable:
“The president said he only want’s a good deal. So they’re talking and we’ll see” if an accord is concluded.
“A good deal has a few things it must have within it; one of them is it has to be verifiable,” Carter said. “That is we have to be able to know the Iranians are taking the steps that the agreement calls for to not get a nuclear weapon.”
The defense secretary said, “We can’t do that based on trust.”
“If it’s not verifiable, we’re not going to agree to it, and that’s one of several things that are critical to it.”
Skepticism of the deal has been enhanced by a recent report published in Germany that states that Iran has been actively defying the existing santions regime, including attempting to acquire illicit technology for its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs
[Reuters][Free Beacon][Weekly Standard]