As the 30 June deadline for signing JCPOA approaches, major differences remain between Iran and major world powers on several key issues. Scheduling sanctions relief, inspection of non-declared sites suspected of nuclear work, and the duration of limits put on different parts of Iran’s nuclear program are the most contentious.
“The question of access and transparency, PMD (possible military dimensions), and sanctions remain extremely problematic, “ a Western diplomat told Reuters today. “We can find an agreement on some points, but on major issues there are still big differences. (Reuters, 26 June)
Secretary of State John Kerry left Washington this afternoon en route to Vienna, the site of the latest round of talks before the deadline. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will also arrive in Vienna soon. The French and British foreign ministers are also expected to join the talks, which will start on Saturday.
Meantime, Colin Kahl, Vice President Joe Biden’s national security advisor, said short-term adjustment to the deadline may be necessary to complete the agreement. Kahl said the negotiators are operating under the view that they have until 9 July to complete a deal, Bloomberg reported today. (If a final deal is submitted to Congress before 9 July, legislators have a 30-day review period. If submitted after 9 July, they have a 60-day review period to accept or reject the deal.)