This week’s nuclear deal negotiations in Vienna were supposed to mark the start of drafting the P5+1’s final settlement with Iran. With the US going into the talks steering focus toward non-nuclear issues, the talks made little progress.
Everyone seemed set for the talks, but the US sought to bring in Iran’s conventional military arsenal, insisting that missiles that could hypothetically carry the nuclear warheads Iran doesn’t have in the first place ought to also be strictly limited in the deal.
Iran dismissed that as stupid, and so it went, with the US now faulting Iran, saying the expected “a little bit more flexibility” from Iran on the talks, and that they’d better be aware of the July 20 deadline.
July 20 marks the end of the six month interim deal, which Iran has been abiding by, and while some P5+1 members have talked about extensions, the US seems to be treating it as a firm make-or-break date, preparing to transition back to overt belligerence toward Iran the moment the clock strikes twelve.