The United States and Iran say a new deadline in nuclear talks could allow them to finally reach a deal. But Tehran’s apparent reluctance to compromise may soon leave U.S. negotiators running out of ideas on how to reduce Iran’s capacity to make nuclear arms.
Western diplomats familiar with the talks said Tuesday they have agreed on little more than to keep talking until June 30, after failing to substantially narrow differences by Monday’s deadline in Vienna.
Based on information from the diplomats, progress made so far has mostly stemmed from the U.S. and its allies revising positions closer to the minimum of what they may be able to accept. Iran’s demands, in contrast, have changed less — and the country may be digging in as the next round approaches.
While Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has backed the nuclear negotiations, he signaled on Tuesday that his country would stand firm, saying the “arrogance” of Washington and its European allies will be unable “to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees.”
Members of the new Republican-controlled U.S. Congress to be sworn in early next year have threatened to impose additional sanctions on Iran and may well have enough votes to overturn an expected veto by President Barack Obama.
Shortly after the extension announcement, Sen. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican whose work with Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey on oil sanctions helped drive Iran to the negotiating table, pledged to come forward with a new bipartisan sanctions package.