U.S. nuclear negotiator declines setting deadline on Iran deal

WASHINGTON Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:50pm EDT

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman arrives for a meeting on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva February 13, 2014.    REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman arrives for a meeting on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva February 13, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The lead U.S. nuclear negotiator declined to give a final deadline on Tuesday for negotiating a final nuclear agreement with Iran, but said participants mean to finish the international talks at the end of the current four-month extension.

"Our intent is absolutely to end this on Nov. 24 in one direction or another. But what I can say to you is we will consult Congress along the way," Wendy Sherman, the under secretary of State for political affairs, said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

Iran and six world powers agreed to extend nuclear talks, and the temporary agreement, by four months after they failed to reach a July 20 deadline for a long-term deal. The deal would gradually lift sanctions, which have crippled Iran's economy, in exchange for curbs on Tehran's atomic program.

Many members of the U.S. Congress are skeptical about the talks and say they are concerned that Iran is negotiating only to win lighter sanctions while secretly continuing its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

"I've been skeptical of the Iranians' sincerity from day one. And I cannot say that I am any less skeptical today than I was six months ago," said New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Foreign Relations panel.

Sherman declined to discuss in the public hearing how long a final comprehensive agreement with Iran, including invasive inspections of its nuclear facilities, should last.

She said only, "We believe the duration of this should be at least double-digits. And we believe it should be for quite a long time."

Several committee Republicans said they were unhappy with the status of the talks. "The goalposts keep moving," said one, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker who is the party's leader on the panel.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Grant McCool)

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Comments (4)
riposte wrote:
Iran stalls and stalls. We really have no clue how to negotiate with anyone…Everyone knows this.

Jul 29, 2014 4:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Trichiurus wrote:
We talk; they research and develop.

A negotiator named Wendy; how appropriate.

Jul 29, 2014 5:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ChangeIranNow wrote:
Iranians have now gained another $2.8 billion in sanctions relief, have not dismantled anything, have not come clean on past activities, have not stopped advanced centrifuge research and have not halted their intercontinental ballistic missile program.Now there is not firm deadline.

When will the West realize that Iran has no interest in nuclear deal that compromises their nuclear infrastructure. Talks and more talks are only aimed to get relief from sanctions so they will have more oil money to fund their foreign efforts in Syria, Iran and Gaza.

Jul 29, 2014 7:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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