Washington Perspectives

P5+1 Negotiations With Iran - June 30 Update

June 30, 2015

Scott Flicker, Hamilton Loeb, Charles Patrizia, Behnam Dayanim & Suhas Subramanyam

New Deadline Set for July 7

Negotiators avoided missing today’s deadline for reaching a nuclear agreement by setting a new target date for July 7. The State Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control, and European Council announced an official one-week extension, which in turn extends the temporary freeze on sanctions outlined in the 2013 Joint Plan of Action. State Department spokeswoman John Kirby called the announcement a “simple technical extension” that will “allow more time for negotiations to reach a long-term solution on the Iran nuclear issue.”

Officials had unofficially agreed to an extension on Sunday and hinted at a July deadline for days. Some reports early this morning indicated that the deadline might be July 9, the last day the Obama administration can submit an agreement to Congress without giving Members more than 30 days to review its terms.

Iran Meets Key Obligation to Reduce Uranium Stock

Iran significantly reduced) its stockpile of low enriched uranium (LEU) in June to an level acceptable under the 2013 Joint Plan of Action. The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency will announce in July that Iran, which possessed 8.714,7 kg of LEU two months ago, now has less than 7,650 kg of LEU, the maximum it could possess by today under the 2013 Joint Plan of Action. LEU, like plutonium, can be used to as a key ingredient of a nuclear weapon by generating the weapon’s fissile core.

Iran’s failure to comply would have thrown a wrench into negotiations by amplifying the P5+1’s lack of trust in its ability to comply with the terms of a nuclear agreement. Instead, Iran’s cooperation removes a significant roadblock during a sensitive time in negotiations and paves the way for a final deal.

Leaders Issue Tough Public Statements

Both U.S. President Barack Obama and Iran President Hassan Rouhani declared that they would nix a final nuclear deal if they were not satisfied with its terms. Obama told reporters that the U.S. was still “willing to walk away” from negotiations, while Rouhani issued similar sentiments and vowed to “go back to the old path, stronger than what they can imagine” if after an agreement the P5+1 breached its end of the bargain.

However, the two countries’ foreign ministers struck a more cordial tone. Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif held lengthy closed-door talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry today, which the U.S. State Department described as “productive.”

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