When nuclear negotiations with Iran began, policy wonks and pro-Israel advocates marked July 20 on their calendars. It was the deadline set for reaching a historic agreement between Tehran and the global powers, after which Iran would either rejoin the community of nations or face an escalation that could lead to military action down the road.
But now the deadline is set to come and go, without leaving much of a mark.
Gaps between Iran and the group of six nations it is negotiating with are too large to overcome by then, but progress made in six months of negotiations is too significant to give up. And so the finish line is largely expected to move once again, without much opposition being heard from Washington, Tehran — or even Jerusalem.
“Extension is the most likely outcome,” said Gary Samore, who until 2013 served as President Obama’s top adviser on nuclear nonproliferation. Samore, now executive director for research at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, explained that pushing back the deadline is the most reasonable course of action for Iran and for the United States.