Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) The U.S. officials trying to negotiate a deal with Iran to roll back its nuclear program have decided to continue the talks past Tuesday’s deadline.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf Tuesday afternoon announced that they had made enough progress to warrant keeping the talks going until Wednesday, although there still were “several difficult issues” to reconcile.
Secretary of State John Kerry will remain in Switzerland until Wednesday, she noted.
Earlier Tuesday White House spokesman Josh Earnest said U.S. officials could were willing to extend the talks one more day if they felt they were making real progress.
Negotiations involved, he said, had updated President Obama on their plans and will give him another briefing before the end of the day.
“The update I’ve received that our negotiators have determined over the course of a sleepless night that they’re going to continue these conversations tomorrow, if necessary, as long as the conversations continue to be productive,” Earnest told reporters at his daily briefing Tuesday.
If the negotiations reach an insurmountable impasse, Earnest said the U.S. is going to “be prepared to consider other alternatives” to deal with Iran’s nuclear weapons development.
“They’ve been engaged in very serious negotiations,” Earnest said. “If it’s necessary and it’s midnight and a deal has not been reached, then [negotiators] will be prepared to continue the talks tomorrow.”
Just one day earlier, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf insisted that March 31 was a “real deadline” and the White House echoed the sentiment.
“We’ve always said that when the extension was announced in November through June that we wanted a framework by the end of March, and that remains our position,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Monday.