The Associated Press reports: With only weeks left to the deadline to reach a first-stage nuclear deal with Iran, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that “significant gaps” remained and warned that America was ready to walk away from the talks if Tehran doesn’t agree to terms demonstrating that it doesn’t want atomic arms.
Kerry spoke after the Iranian Atomic Energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz added their muscle to the talks for the first time to help resolve technical disputes standing in the way of an agreement meant to curb Iran’s nuclear programs in exchange for sanctions relief for the Islamic Republic.
But Kerry warned against undue optimism. Salehi’s and Moniz’s presence is no “indication whatsoever that something is about to be decided,” he said. “There are still significant gaps.”
World powers and Iran have set an end of March deadline for a framework agreement, with four further months for the technical work to be ironed out. The talks have missed two previous deadlines, and President Barack Obama has said a further extension would make little sense without a basis for continuing discussions. [Continue reading…]