With a wide gap remaining between the delegation of world powers led by the United States and Iranian negotiators, the prospects for a nuclear deal look questionable with one more day till the July 7 deadline.
On Monday, July 6, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met separately in Vienna with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, in an effort to break the deadlock.
Russia has been deeply involved in helping Iran with its nuclear technology development from the start. Moscow has helped Iran build a number of nuclear energy plants in the Islamic Republic, and has also sold Tehran a sophisticated surface-to-air anti-missile defense system as well.
“A mutual desire to find as soon as possible mutually acceptable solutions on disputed issues was expressed,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a cryptic statement released to media.
Iran, however, appears to still not be budging on its positions, with the deadline less than 24 hours away. An Iranian source told news agencies that ‘serious differences’ remained between the two sides.
“The ministerial meeting between Iran and the [six] world powers showed there are still serious differences,” a source close to the Iranian negotiating team told the Iranian state news agency IRNA. “But both sides are also serious about resolving the differences.”
Negotiators on both sides indicated they may stretch the deadline past July 7, as had been done with the June 30 deadline and the deadline prior to that.
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing on Monday, “I wouldn’t set any expectations at this point… I would say that it’s certainly possible” that the “final, firm” deadline for the talks could once again “slip.”
What is even more likely is that Iran will continue to demand impossible concessions — and the world powers will be forced to decide whether they are willing to simply cave to Tehran, or find the strength to walk away from the table.Hana Levi Julian