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World

Kerry Says Iran Nuclear Talks 'Will Not Be Rushed'

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We will not rush, and we will not be rushed. Those were the words of Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna today as he announced that talks on Iran's nuclear program will go on. In other words, it's a virtual certainty that an agreement will not be delivered to Congress by today's deadline. NPR's Peter Kenyon has more.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: For much of the day leaks emanating from the Palatial hotel where the talks are taking place suggested that there was still a chance Iran and six world powers would announce an accord in time to deliver this complicated, technical deal to Capitol Hill today. It now appears that won't happen, which triggers an extension of the time lawmakers will have to consider and criticize any deal from 30 to 60 days. Kerry told reporters that negotiators remained focused on getting a deal strong enough to withstand scrutiny not just in Congress, but around the world and one that could last for decades. But he also said while they shouldn't leave simply because the clock strikes midnight, these talks cannot be open-ended.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN KERRY: President Obama made it very clear to me last night. You can't wait forever for the decision to be made. We know that. If the tough decisions don't get made, we are absolutely prepared to call an end to this process.

KENYON: Later, a senior Iranian official told reporters that the international side had changed positions on a range of proposals. The officials said it could turn out to be a small glitch, but it could also be a major setback for the talks. Both sides want a good deal, but on issues such as verifying that Iran is keeping its nuclear commitments, a U.N. arms embargo and sanctions relief, there are very different definitions of what a good deal might be. Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Vienna. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.