After extension, hope for Iran nuclear talks

By Simon Sturdee ,AFP

VIENNA — If Iran and world powers couldn’t clinch a nuclear deal after five hard months of bargaining, what hope is there that yet more time will help?

Quite a lot actually, experts told AFP. Even though Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany remain far apart on key issues, some progress has been made, the analysts said. “The chances are better than ever that there will be a final deal,” said Richard Dalton, Britain’s former ambassador in Tehran, now at the Chatham House think-tank. “But hard work on the politics of it has to be done in Washington and Tehran,” Dalton told AFP. On Friday the parties announced an extension until Nov. 24 of their July 20 deadline to reach a deal, prolonging and augmenting the terms of an interim accord struck last November. This came after a 17-day, sixth and final round of negotiations in Vienna that saw U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry jet in but fail to secure a breakthrough. The mooted deal is aimed at dispelling fears that Iran might develop nuclear weapons, after a decade of rising tensions, Iranian nuclear expansion and bellicose rhetoric. Iran, which denies wanting the bomb in the first place, in return wants the lifting of painful U.N. and Western sanctions strangling its economy.