Today is the self-imposed deadline for the United States to complete a nuclear deal with Iran, but key pieces of the deal remain in dispute.
But key pieces of the deal—meant to contain Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief—remain in dispute as negotiators plan to extend talks beyond today’s deadline.
The deal between Iran, the United States and five other world powers—Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China—would create steps to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb and could alleviate international sanctions that have stunted Tehran’s economy.
Diplomats predict a deal could be reached within a week after the initial deadline, but negotiators planning to meet in Vienna Tuesday admit there is still much that needs to be resolved before a final agreement can be made.
Here are the four central pieces still unresolved as the deadline nears expiration:
1. Reducing Iran’s centrifuges. Iran agreed under the first negotiation framework in April it would reduce its number of centrifuges—machines that enrich uranium used in nuclear bombs—from 19,000 to about 6,000.
Iran currently uses basic centrifuges, but is researching advanced models that would purify uranium faster — accelerating the time it would take to build a bomb.
The original “framework deal” banned Iran from using advanced centrifuges for 10 years. But it was vague on the amount of research and development allowed within that timeframe. The current deal would clarify this, halting Iran’s research and development for 10 years. Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last week he would not accept the restrictions, calling the demand “excessive coercion,” according to the Associated Press.
2. International inspections to assure Iranian compliance. U.S. and Western officials are skeptical of Iran’s adherence to a nuclear deal, pushing a hardline position on an agreement allowing the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect military bases if suspicion arises of Iranian violations.
Khamenei repeated last week that Tehran would reject any measure allowing international inspection of its military bases. Neither side appears ready to make concessions and a failure to strike a compromise could shatter the entire deal.