The nuclear talks between Iran and the six world powers have already been extended several times, but a senior American official on Friday raised the possibility that they could be extended yet again.
The official, who was quoted by Reuters and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the nuclear talks could run past a July 7 deadline if the negotiators are on the verge of an agreement.
Asked if Iran and the major powers were "exceedingly close" to a deal whether the talks might go past that deadline, the senior U.S. 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."
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.
Several major sticking points remain in talks, such as Iran's refusal to allow inspectors in to investigate its secretive nuclear facilities or come clean on the military nature of its nuclear program. Likewise Iran is demanding all sanctions be lifted as soon as a deal is reached.
Earlier 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.
France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, left the nuclear talks in Vienna on Thursday, but said he would return Sunday evening in the hope that sufficient progress had been made.
Fabius has several times made clear that France will not agree to a deal if Iran so long as it rules out inspections of its military sites as part of the final agreement.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)