The Slatest

Deadline Extended on Iran Nuclear Weapons Talks, Which Is Relatively Good News

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Photo by Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters

Negotiations between Iran and a group of world powers over the country’s nuclear program have been extended again, which is probably good news, though it could be bad news.

Negotiators from the United States, Russia, and other powers would like to reach an agreement under which Iran limits its nuclear program to nonmilitary applications in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. After pushing back an earlier deadline by four months, parties to the talks had set a goal of Monday to agree on a plan. They’ll now give themselves until March 1 to come up with a preliminary agreement and until July 1 to work out final details.

On the plus side, the news means that both sides still believe they can come to an agreement that, given the long-troubled relationship between Iran and the rest of the world, would be a milestone achievement. The downside is that both Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are dealing with increasingly powerful conservative opposition movements pushing them to take a hard line in the talks. For his part, Obama said on Sunday that he’s “confident” that he will have the support of Congress and the American public if and when a deal is reached.