Iran and the P5+1 countries, coordinated by the European Union, have decided to extend the Joint Plan of Action until November 24 and continue negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. For the past six months, the parties have been working on a comprehensive agreement aimed at assuring the international community that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon and that its nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes.
The negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany will now be extended for four months past the original target date of July 20, imposed by the parties under last November’s first-step nuclear agreement, called the Joint Plan of Action, or JPOA.
The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has carried out the very significant commitments it made, and has taken steps to address the international community’s greatest concerns. The JPOA resulted in a roll back of Iran’s nuclear program in return for modest sanctions relief.
Referring to the past six months, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement, “We have made tangible progress in our comprehensive negotiations, but there are very real gaps in some areas.”
“Ultimately, our goal in pursuing this brief extension is to capitalize on the progress we’ve already made, while giving us the best chance of success at the end of this process. Critically, Iran’s nuclear program will remain halted during the next four months. This is in our interest, and in the interest of our allies,” Secretary of State Kerry said.
“One year ago, few would have predicted that Iran would have kept all its commitments under a first step nuclear agreement, and that we would be actively negotiating a long-term comprehensive agreement. Now we have four additional months to determine the next miles of this difficult diplomatic journey. Let’s all commit to seize this moment,” Mr. Kerry said, “and to use the additional time to make the fundamental choices necessary to conclude a comprehensive agreement that makes the entire world a safer place.”