John Kerry left talks with Iran on its nuclear program with "very real gaps" in the negotiations, acknowledging that diplomacy is difficult, but better than the alternative. Kerry spent three days in Vienna discussing the issues with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif trying to hammer out a deal ahead of a July 20 deadline to reach firm commitments on Tehran's atomic program.
"The Iranians are strong in their positions. They understand what their needs are, we understand what ours are," Kerry said. "Both are working in good faith to try to find a way forward. And as I said, I think we've made some progress. Obviously, there's more work to do. We'll assess where we are in the next few days" before determining if enough progress has been made to warrant extending the agreement beyond Sunday's deadline.
The main dispute is over Iran's nuclear enrichment program. Tehran says it needs to expand enrichment to make reactor fuel but the U.S. fears Tehran could steer the activity toward manufacturing the core of nuclear missiles and could use its present capacity to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one warhead in only several months.