Iran and P5 + 1 Countries on 24 November 2014 agreed to extend the deadline on Iran Nuclear deal by 7-months to 30 June 2015. The deadline, which was to be met by 24 November 2014, was extended after both the parties failed to reach an agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme at an emergency meeting held in Vienna, Austria.
As per the agreement, Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany would seek to strike an outline deal by 1 March 2015 and a full technical accord by 1 July 2015.
However, the conditions set by Interim Accord in November 2013 will remain in place including a continued freeze by Iran of contentious parts of its nuclear activities. In return, Iran will keep receiving around 700 million US dollars in frozen funds per month.
Differences between the two sides
The 12-year stand-off though has made some progress but both the sides, especially Iran and the US, remained far apart on two crucial points: uranium enrichment and sanctions relief.
On uranium enrichment, the two sides are arguing over how many, and what kind, of centrifuges Iran should be allowed to have.
The US initially wanted Iran to slash its centrifuges to less than 2000 from the nearly 10000 it now runs, but says it can accept 4500 if Tehran agrees to other conditions meant to slow its ability to turn toward making weapons-grade uranium.
However, Iran, which came to the talks in February 2014 insists that it be allowed to keep its present program, says it can reduce to 8000.
This is important to be resolved because the US believes that machines can enrich uranium from low reactor-fuel level up to grades used to build the core of a nuclear weapon. Thus, the US wants deeper and more lasting cuts in the program than Tehran is willing to give.
Iran and the US also differ on how long constraints should remain on Tehran's nuclear program. On the one hand, US want restrictions between 10 and 15 years, but theIranians insist on no more than 10 years.
Risks of not meeting the 30 June 2015 deadline
U.S.-Iran relations have warmed since Hassan Rouhani became the President of Iran in 2013 and the thaw has extended to the nuclear negotiations.
Another extension, however, carries risks of its own, including possible fresh U.S. sanctions that could lead Iran to walk away.
On the one hand, it is feared that Republican controlled Senate in the US might not want any relaxation in the sanctions on Iran and may impose additional sanctions. This is because according to the Republicans Iran is not serious on any deal and just trying to buy out time.
On the other hand, hard-liners in Iran are of the view that their country will give away more than it gets under any final deal. This may increase pressure on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to break off talks.
When: 24 November 2014
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