News / Middle East

Iran, World Powers Agree to Extend Nuclear Talks

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a news conference in Vienna, July 18, 2014.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a news conference in Vienna, July 18, 2014.
Lisa Bryant

World powers and Iran have agreed to extend a deadline for reaching an agreement aimed at limiting Iran's nuclear program until mid-November, citing progress made, but nowhere near enough to reach a deal.

The announcement came early Saturday morning in Vienna after the latest set of marathon talks between Iran and world powers. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton read out a statement to reporters.

"While we've made tangible progress on some of the issues, and have worked together on a text for a joint comprehensive plan of action, there are still significant gaps on some core issues which will require more time and effort," she said.

Ashton said the six powers - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - together with Iran, had agreed to extend the timeframe for talks until November 24.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif read a similar statement in Farsi.

The two sides were working against an initial July 20 deadline to reach a deal that would curb Iran's nuclear program to ensure it cannot produce nuclear weapons.  Iran has balked at that charge, insisting its program is purely for peaceful purposes.

In separate remarks posted on the EU's website, Ashton said the two sides would return for more talks shortly.

"Well the next step is that people will return to capitals, they will consider the issues, we will bring the E3 + 3 [6 powers] together again in the next few weeks and I will meet with my Iranian counterpart, Minister Zarif, in order to continue our discussions. And then we will move to that stage and work out the timetable to do that. Our ambition is to achieve this as quickly as possible, but we are determined to make sure that the agreement is a very good one," she said.

The extension will allow Iran to access another $2.8 billion of its foreign assets as talks continue. But Secretary of State John Kerry says that is no more than Iran has been getting during the past four months of discussions.

German, French reactions

Just hours after the extension was announced, Germany's foreign minister says the coming months until the new November deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran could be the last chance for a peaceful solution for a long time.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier called Saturday for Iran to show it is ready to "dispel all doubts" about its nuclear intentions.

In a statement Saturday also, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France hopes the extension will allow Iran to make what he called "indispensable" choices to reach a long-term, lasting agreement. He said, a first indicator will be whether Iran cooperates with the International Atomic Energy Agency's probe into the possible military dimension of its nuclear program.

Skeptics in the U.S. and elsewhere believe Iran is just buying time by continuing the talks. Hardliners in Iran see their country's nuclear program as a source of national pride and are against reining it in.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 19, 2014 2:11 PM
What a shame! What a colossal failure! The only achievement presented to the world so far in this article is a new acronym of the P5+1 to E3+3 (6 powers), while Iran continues to build and stack away stockpiles of nuclear materials. No mention was made whether Iran is still being limited by the restrictions that obtained leading to the agreement to reach a deal by July 20 2014. Even while seems there is a bite in the expressions from Germany and France, I think the greatest disappointment is the USA which has failed to provide the fulcrum on which the agency would pivot its stand against a violation of the existing order. When the US has rather joined in the scramble to obtain a space in Tehran's alliance, the result cannot be more than this. There will still be another extension after this, because Iran is calling the shots and determines how it is led by the so-called world powers plus one. It only presents a picture of cart before the horse - yeah, the cart is pulling the horse in this case. Very odd! Maybe that's the kind of leadership to expect in a world where women are being touted to take over sixty percent while men should take forty.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs