U.S.: No Plans to Extend Iran Talks

Senior U.S. official says a deal on Iran's nuclear program is still possible by late next month.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Bushehr nuclear reactor
Bushehr nuclear reactor

A senior U.S. official said on Wednesday that a deal on Iran's nuclear program was still possible by late next month and there were no talks now about extending the deadline, Reuters reports.

Speaking before a meeting between the U.S., Iranian and European Union foreign ministers, the State Department official said "we're working on creative ways to give us all of the assurances we need" that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons.

"There's a lot of ways to get to ‘yes’ here," the senior U.S. official said, declining to be named.

However, there were still significant gaps in negotiating positions on Iran's uranium enrichment program, which is at the heart of a decade-old dispute which over the years has often raised fears of a new Middle East war.

"We don’t know if we’ll be able to get to an agreement, we very well may not,” the official added, according to Reuters.

Iran and six world powers - the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain - aim to end a decade-old nuclear standoff by a self-imposed November 24 deadline.

That deadline was set after the sides failed to reach an agreement by a previous deadline in July

In a sign of attempts to accelerate their efforts, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton were holding talks in Vienna on Wednesday.

The negotiations are centered on curbing Iran's atomic activity, which Tehran says is peaceful but the West fears may be aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability, in exchange for lifting sanctions.

With less than six weeks to go before the target date, Western officials say there are still important differences between the sides, especially over the future scope of Iran's production of enriched uranium, which can be used to fuel atomic energy plants but can also provide the fissile core of a bomb if purified to a high degree.

Earlier this week, senior Iranian negotiator Abbas Araqchi said that nuclear talks with world powers could be extended again if no deal is reached by the November 24 deadline.

Kerry, however, said on Tuesday that a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program is still possible despite the difficulty of the negotiations.

On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran was “certain” it would reach an accord with the West over its nuclear effort before the next deadline.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)