The Obama administration repeatedly insisted over the course of the last three months that the June 30 deadline for reaching a nuclear deal with Iran was firm, before blowing past it Tuesday and minimizing the significance of failing to meet it.

The Washington-imposed deadline was always more important to U.S. officials than the Iranians, who started brushing it aside shortly after an April 2nd breakthrough on a framework agreement — that framework itself was reached two days past the original March 31 deadline for that phase of the talks.

By mid-April, Iranians officials were already beginning to suggest that the talks could extend beyond June.

"Iran will work hard to reach an agreement within the specified time of three months or even sooner, but if the deal would not meet the criteria the leader has introduced for a good deal, we would extend the time," Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, one of Iran's negotiators, told Iranian state television, according to Mehr news agency.

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