The June 30 deadline was extended to July 7, and with that passed officials pushed it back to Friday, July 10. Despite the probability of another extension in the absence of a deal, Western officials see the next 48 hours as desperately important to the prospect of a deal, particularly from the US perspective.
The Obama Administration is believed to be keen to get a deal done in time to submit it to Congress by the July 9 deadline. Congress has 30 days to vote on the deal after that, but if the deal isn’t submitted until after the deadline, this extends to 60 days. White House officials believe that the 60 days would give lobbying groups more time to kill the pact.
Iran has made it clear they don’t feel obliged to adhere to any of these deadlines, and that they are entirely Western-imposed. Recent US threats to “walk away” may reflect how eager the US is to get this deal finalized in a timely fashion, and hopes they can coax Iran into making a few concessions at the last minute.
Of course with none of the sides going public with the details of what has been agreed to so far, it’s not clear how close they were or how likely a deal may be. Everyone seems to agree a breakthrough was made on Saturday, and that a deal is close, but they also maintain that “differences” of some sort remain.
Whatever the case, it is unthinkable that the US will actually walk away on Friday if they don’t get the deal done, but with various lobbies pushing Congress heavily to kill the deal, it may indeed become much more difficult to get the vote through if that 60 day timeline becomes reality.