US stands firm on Iran deadline

VIENNA—U.S. officials said they weren’t seeking to extend nuclear negotiations with Iran beyond a Nov. 24 deadline, as Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart on Wednesday.

The negotiations here were part of what is expected to be an intense final push for a comprehensive agreement between global powers and Tehran that seeks to curtail Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an easing of Western sanctions.

U.S. officials in Vienna said they were “chipping away” on a draft of a final agreement but that significant gaps remained.

Pressure to complete a deal has increased in recent weeks due to the territorial gains made by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. Both Washington and Tehran are aiding Iraq’s government in fighting the Sunni extremist group and have suggested they could coordinate the fight if a formal nuclear deal could be reached.

Some Iranian, Russian and European diplomats involved in the negotiations have said in recent weeks that there was a strong chance the negotiations could be extended beyond late November, due to the sizable differences that remain. But U.S. officials taking part in the Vienna talks said the Obama administration remained committed to the Nov. 24 deadline.

“We are still focused...on Nov. 24th, and getting an agreement by the 24th,” said a senior U.S. official. “We are all keeping the pressure on ourselves—this includes Iran.”

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