Iran Negotiation Deadline Has Congressional ‘Considerations’

By Meredith Dake
Posted June 1, 2015 at 10:52pm
Loading the player...

State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday that participants in the Iran negotiations are committed to the June 30 deadline. Reporters questioned whether the deadline was “real,” but Harf contended there were many considerations on the U.S. side to keep the talks on track. “We and our partners are united in working toward June 30. … I think people understand that this is a real deadline. We certainly also have domestic congressional reasons that we — or at least — not reasons, but considerations that we are aware of on the calendar, as well,” Harf said. The State Department announced that Harf began an new job on Monday, as Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications to Secretary Kerry. Read a transcript of the exchange below, via : Why — I know you keep saying that the secretary is committed to the deadline, but the Iranians are — not to say it’s not sacred — the French don’t seem to be wedded to it. The Russians don’t seem to be wedded to it. I’m not sure. I think you’re making some generalizations about some of our partners that aren’t accurate inside the room. Well, I mean… Or even publicly. … well, but the public statements are — “sacred” is their word, not mine, but… Right. … why is — what is sacred about this deadline? I think we and all of our partners — I think that, as we’ve talked about, deadlines are often an action-forcing mechanisms in — mechanism in negotiations. If you look at when the, you know, final toughest issues often get worked out, as we’ve seen in Lausanne, as we’ve seen before, it’s often closer to the end because you have a deadline and that’s forcing action. And I think that we believe that there — these are decisions that can be made, that the technical possibilities are there, and that there need to be some tough decisions, but some decisions made, and that we can’t go on negotiating forever. We and our partners are united in working toward June 30th. I think, you know, there’s been one French comment, but every other French official who’s been out, and certainly privately, as well, has been committed to the 30th. I think people understand that this is a real deadline. We certainly also have domestic congressional reasons that we — or at least — not reasons, but considerations that we are aware of on the calender, as well. But in Lausanne, actually, the deadline didn’t mean a lot, because you went past it. It — we only went — right, two days. You know, a deadline is a deadline, Marie. You know… Spoken like someone who’s had an editor call him about one before. Exactly. So if you miss the deadline, you miss the deadline. And Lausanne missed the deadline. But only by — but only by a couple days. Doesn’t matter. It does. No, no. I think it does, though. I think the fact that we had it, and that every day… It still doesn’t matter. Well, no, but I think it does inside the room. Because having been there every day, saying to the Iranians, “Look, if we make progress today, we’ll stay till tomorrow.” But every day, it was an unknown whether we would stay another day. Yeah. Truly. That could go on forever. Anyway, this is… But — but we made clear it wouldn’t.