US and Iranian officials are both sticking to their respective positions on a P5+1 nuclear deal, and with the two sides far apart the “deadline” of July 20 seems almost certain to pass without any final agreement.
Primary among the issues is the question of civilian nuclear enrichment, with Iran insisting it be allowed to grow its program to meet future needs of its energy generation program. The US is insisting not only on forbidding future growth, but on Iran eliminating more of its tiny program.
The real issue is a rhetorical one, as both sides insist the other is being unreasonable, and each is trying to appear strong by spurning efforts by the other negotiators to close the gap.
With just over two weeks left before the “interim” deal expires, this is a recipe for the talks to end split. With both sides going into the negotiations saying a deal within six months was unlikely, each seems to be pinning their hopes on an extension of the existing deal, while taking a gamble that they can scare the other side into making some concessions in a panic before the deadline ends.