Amid reports that Iran and the six world powers are getting closer to signing a permanent agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, a senior Israeli official on Saturday night issued a stern warning about the impending agreement.
“The agreement is worse than the interim agreement reached in Lausanne,” the official told Arutz Sheva, “because not only does it not undermine Iran’s existing nuclear infrastructure, it will partially remove the sanctions and allow Iran to continue to support terrorism in Israel and worldwide.”
Government officials in Jerusalem still have hopes, though they are slim, that the United States Congress, which is supposed to approve the agreement, will reject a problematic arrangement and are working intensively to persuade lawmakers in Washington to reject a bad agreement.
The official’s comments came hours after Iran and world powers said they made progress on future sanctions relief for Iran, but remained divided on issues such as lifting United Nations sanctions and the development of advanced centrifuges.
Diplomats close to the negotiations said, according to the Reuters news agency, they had tentative agreement on a mechanism for suspending U.S. and European Union sanctions on Iran.
But the six powers had yet to agree on a United Nations Security Council resolution that would lift UN sanctions and establish a means of re-imposing them in case of Iranian non-compliance with a future agreement.
After already having extending the talks several times, Iran and the six major powers set a deadline of June 30 to reach a final deal, but when they once again failed to meet that deadline, they agreed to extend the deadline to July 7 – this coming Tuesday.
On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed that the sides are closer than ever to reaching a nuclear agreement.
"We are ready to strike a balanced and good deal and open new horizons to address important common challenges," Zarif said.
"We have never been closer to a lasting outcome," he added.
Later Friday, a senior American official raised the possibility that the talks could be extended even beyond Tuesday if an agreement is not reached.
Asked if Iran and the major powers were "exceedingly close" to a deal whether the talks might go past that deadline, the official told reporters, "Is it conceivable that we would go past the 7th? Sure, it's conceivable … But … we want to get this done as soon as possible."