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Iran Nuclear Talks Miss Final Deal Deadline, Agree to Extension

Six days of negotiations in Vienna failed to produce a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program by the Nov. 24 deadline set by last year’s interim deal, but the talks have been extended until July 1, 2015.

The terms of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), which was reached last year in Geneva, will remain in force until that date.

A second deadline for a political framework deal has been set by Iran and the P5+1 (US, Russia, China, UK, France plus Germany) for March 1, 2015.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hammond told reporters in the Austrian capital today that meetings would resume next month.

We can’t afford to stop now,” said Hammond, according to the Guardian newspaper.

“There will be further meetings in December and our clear target is to reach a headline agreement, an agreement on substance in the next three months or so,” he added.

Iranians will be addressed by President Hassan Rouhani tonight, according to Iranian news reports.

“Extending talks beyond 24 November will not be easy,” said Ali Vaez, the senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, from Vienna. “But it is the least bad option.”

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, who has consistently criticized the talks, meanwhile said there was “positive side” to missing the deadline.

But the extension will likely result in more domestic hurdles for the Obama administration from Washington. Writes Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray from Vienna:

In the U.S., Republicans in Congress have made it clear they will try to kill a deal they view as unsatisfactory — and they’ll be empowered to do so when the new Republican-majority Senate comes to town in January. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who will become the Senate Majority Leader in January, has said he will hold a vote on an Iran sanctions bill that was prevented from coming to a vote by Democratic leadership earlier this year.

Hardline voices in Tehran will also likely grow louder in the coming months.

Separately the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a UN-monitoring organization, released a report today indicating that Iran continues to implement its commitments under the terms of the JPOA.

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