Extending Iran nuclear talks not discussed, White House official says

BEIJING—The U.S. and other world powers negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program haven’t discussed extending talks beyond the Nov. 24 deadline despite remaining gaps in achieving a deal, a senior Obama administration official said Tuesday.

“What we’ve been focused on is driving towards, ‘What progress can we make towards an agreement for the 24th?’ We have not focused in discussions with Iran on extending those discussions because we want to keep the focus on closing gaps,” Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, said at a media briefing during President Barack Obama’s visit to China.

Secretary of State John Kerry will update Mr. Obama on the status of nuclear talks with Iran when he arrives in Beijing later Tuesday to attend the president’s meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping , Mr. Rhodes said.

Mr. Kerry is flying to Beijing from Oman, where officials from Iran, the U.S. and other nations involved in the talks held negotiations for several days.

Mr. Rhodes denounced anti-Israel comments posted on the Twitter account of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as “outrageous.”

“It’s a type of rhetoric we’ve seen from the Iranian leadership for years,” Mr. Rhodes said. “We completely reject it.”

The comments about destroying Israel come after revelations that Mr. Obama secretly sent the supreme leader a letter in October saying the U.S. and Iran have a shared interest in combating Islamic State militants and stressing the importance of reaching a nuclear deal.

By The Wall Street Journal


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