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November 20, 2014 3:25 pm

Iran Nuclear Deadline Likely to be Extended Until March

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The Iran nuclear program's Arak heavy water reactor. Photo: Nanking2012/Wikimedia Commons. – The deadline for negotiating a deal on Iran’s nuclear program may be extended from Nov. 24 to next March due to sharp differences between Iran and world powers, diplomatic officials said.

“Some kind of interim agreement at this point is likely, or perhaps at best a framework agreement by Monday that needs to be worked out in the coming weeks and months,” a Western diplomat told Reuters.

The original interim deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany) was signed in November 2013 and led to an easing of some sanctions on Iran. The interim deal was meant to allow for further negotiations to produce a final framework, but the deadline for that framework has been repeatedly pushed back.

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Talks between Iran and the P5+1 have been stalled for some time, largely over differences regarding Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and lifting Western-imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic. World powers want to severely curtail enrichment capability or have enriched fuel sent abroad for processing, while Iran wants to retain its ability to enrich uranium.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program, including its enrichment capabilities. Many leading U.S. Republican legislators, ahead of their party’s forthcoming control of both houses of Congress in January, have expressed similar sentiments and have promised to block any “bad deal” with Iran that allows the country to retain enrichment capability.

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