The P5+1 countries, the European Union, and Iran have agreed to continue diplomatic efforts to reach a comprehensive deal, and have extended the measures of the Joint Plan of Action for an additional seven months to allow for further negotiations, with the very specific goal of finishing the political agreement within four months.
Talks will resume as early as December. The Joint Plan of Action, known as the JPOA, the first-step accord agreed to by the parties in November 2013, will remain in effect during the duration of the negotiations.
At a press briefing in Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry noted that Iran has lived up to its commitments under the JPOA.
“This takes time. The stakes are high and the issues are complicated and technical,” Mr. Kerry said. “It also takes time because we don’t want just any agreement. We want the right agreement.”
“First and foremost, the viable agreement would have to close off all of the pathways for Iran to get fissile material for a nuclear weapon. A viable agreement would have to include a new level of transparency and verification beyond the expanded access that we’ve had under the JPOA. And as these conditions are met, a viable agreement would also include for Iran relief from the international nuclear-related sanctions that help to bring them to the table to negotiate in the first place.”
Secretary of State Kerry said, “We want the people of Iran to get the economic relief that they seek and be able to rejoin the international community.” However, he noted, “The world still has serious questions about Iran’s nuclear program. And for the sanctions to be terminated, we need Iran to take concrete, verifiable steps to answer those questions. That’s the bottom line.”
Secretary of State Kerry said, “We have the time in the next weeks and months to try and get this right… We should continue to exercise the judgment and the patience to defend our interests, uphold our core principles, maintain our sense of urgency that this issue deserves and keep open the road to a peaceful resolution.”