The real deadline for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme is July 9 instead of June 30, diplomats told reporters on Friday.
Iran and P5+1 countries — China, France, Russia, the UK, the US and Germany — are having talks over Iran’s nuclear programme to meet a designated June 30 deadline, which aims to curtail Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanction relief.
Unnamed Western diplomats told reporters in Vienna that major differences exist between Iran and the negotiating parties, and the deadline could be extended to July 9.
"The most difficult subjects need to be resolved in the coming days," a diplomat said.
Several key issues including sanctions relief and UN access to Iranian nuclear sites remain to be solved as the June 30 deadline approaches.
"The next few days will be extremely difficult. There will be overnighters and we will need to keep calm and have a lot of energy," the diplomat added.
Bolstering the diplomats’ comments, a senior Iranian official said on Friday the negotiations could be hampered by differences among the six countries.
Officials comments come as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday six nuclear powers can still sign a better deal with Iran.
“It is still not too late to insist on a good deal,” he said.
As part of an agreement with the US Congress, the US diplomats are racing to strike a deal before July 9, in a bid to minimise the congressional review period to 30 days.
Postponement beyond July 9 would give the US Congress 60 days, undermining the agreement by giving US opponents more time to attack the agreement.
On Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ruled out freezing the nuclear programme for a long period of time, describing it as “unacceptable.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry flied to Vienna on Friday to seal a final deal on Iran’s nuclear programme.