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Sen. Coons weighs in on Iran nuclear talks

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s junior senator says the clock is ticking on the U.S. and other world powers to complete a nuclear deal with Iran.

Sen. Chris Coons  (D-Delaware), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is keeping an eye on the marathon talks in Vienna between the Iranians, U.S. officials and other countries – including Russia and China.

Those talks are extending into the weekend, but Friday Iranian officials accused several countries of changing their positions and making excessive demands.

That comes a day after Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. would not rush into a deal – but would not stay at the negotiating table forever.

Coons says he believes Kerry and the U.S. team are taking the right approach.

“Well, frankly, I’m relieved that the [Obama] Administration did not feel undue pressure from the deadline that was set before of yesterday and that they’ve stayed at the table, that they’re continuing to negotiate, but they haven’t signed a weak deal," said Coons.

Coons adds that a walk-away point may be close.

“If it gets to the point here soon where its clear the Iranians are unwilling to make the concessions they need to make, then we should step away from negotiations and tighten down harder on tougher sanctions until they’re willing to come to the table and make the kind of agreement that really is in our national best interest,” said Coons.

He emphasized he still “deeply distrusts” the Iranian regime and considers getting an enforceable deal that would allow access sites suspected of nuclear activity “any time, any place” the top priority.

Even if no deal is reached, Coons says he believes the process to date will have helped learn more about Iran’s nuclear program.

The deadline missed Friday means that should a deal be brokered, Congress would have 60 days rather than 30 to decide whether or not to approve it.  Coons says that was only to ensure lawmakers would have proper time to review it while many are away from Washington during the summer.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.