FPI Timeline: A Year of Iranian Defiance and Western Desperation in Nuclear Talks

December 8, 2014

Over the past year, Iran has advanced its nuclear program and bypassed sanctions while desperate Western negotiators have offered a series of reported concessions in order to reach a final deal to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Meanwhile, the White House—despite persistent bipartisan objections from Congress—has rejected calls to increase pressure on the regime, instead opting for more talks, which the parties recently extended through June 30, 2015.

This timeline illustrates the contrasting approaches of the United States and Iran to nuclear negotiations since the interim agreement was signed in November 2013.



November 24: The P5+1 and Iran sign a six-month interim agreement—known as the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA)—that restricts key components of Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. In a statement the evening before, President Obama says the deal “opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure—a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.”

Sunni Arab nations react with notable silence, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls the deal a “historic mistake.”

November 25: President Obama dismisses criticism of the interim agreement as “tough talk and bluster,” saying such rhetoric may be “the easy thing to do politically, but it’s not the right thing for our security.”

November 26: Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Mark Kirk (R-IL) begin preparing bipartisan legislation that would impose sanctions-in-waiting to take effect if Iran fails to negotiate an acceptable final agreement. The Obama administration announces its opposition to such sanctions, calling them “unhelpful.”

November 27: Iran announces that it will continue construction at the Arak heavy water reactor, which Robert Einhorn, a former senior official in the Obama administration, has called a “plutonium bomb factory.” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says, however, that the six-month clock for the interim agreement has yet to begin, thus technically permitting Iran to proceed with such actions.

Iran’s oil ministry opens contact with European companies in an effort to capitalize on the interim agreement’s sanctions relief.

November 29: The Wall Street Journal reports: “Leading Arab officials have publicly voiced concerns about allowing Iran to maintain enrichment because of its military use. Members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family, including Prince Turki al-Faisal, have said in recent weeks that Riyadh could seek to develop or buy nuclear weapons if more isn’t done to stop Iran.”

December 1: The Washington Post reports: “The White House has organized a full-court press between now and the Senate’s return Dec. 9 to persuade lawmakers not to act [to pass Iran sanctions]. In addition to briefings for anyone who wants one, Obama, Secretary of State John F. Kerry, national security adviser Susan E. Rice and other top officials are making personal calls. Kerry sent a video to his former Capitol Hill colleagues explaining the deal, ‘because some people are putting out some misinformation on it.’”

President Hassan Rouhani announces that Iran will soon begin construction on a second nuclear power plant in Bushehr.

December 2: In a sign of Iran’s diminishing international isolation spurred by the interim agreement, the British government announces that its new nonresident envoy to Iran will travel to Tehran for talks, which London hopes will help mend ties with the regime.

December 3: In a key concession, the United States says it may allow Tehran to retain an enrichment program as part of a final agreement. “We are prepared to negotiate a strictly limited enrichment program in the end state,” says Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney calls any new sanctions on Iran an act of “bad faith.”

December 4: “The Obama administration,” reports Politico, “encountered bipartisan skepticism … as it sought to sell Congress on its nuclear deal with Iran and ward off new sanctions.” The report adds, “support for fresh economic penalties on Iran remains strong in the House, which voted 400-20 to limit Iran’s oil exports months before the breakthrough with Iran on a temporary nuclear deal.”

December 6: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel travels to the Gulf region to assure anxious allies that the interim agreement with Iran in no way signals a U.S. reduction in commitment to its Arab partners.

December 7: President Obama calls the odds of reaching a deal with Iran about 50/50. “But,” he adds, “we have to try.”

A spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency says Tehran is testing more efficient uranium enrichment technologies. 

December 10: During a congressional hearing with Secretary of State John Kerry, Republican and Democratic lawmakers challenge his opposition to additional Iran sanctions. “Governments throughout the world will not be easily convinced to reverse course and ratchet up sanctions pressure if Iran is only buying time with this agreement,” says House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA). Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, says, “You’re asking us to be asleep and do nothing.”

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, David Cohen, the Treasury Department official responsible for overseeing Iran sanctions, calls the sanctions relief in the interim agreement “economically insignificant to Iran.” “Iran,” he claims, “will be even deeper in the hole six months from now, when the deal expires, than it is today.”

December 12: In a victory for the Obama administration, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), announces a “pause” in the pursuit of Iran sanctions legislation.

December 16: “The Zionists are just like the Nazis,” says Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a tweet.

December 18: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran can resume enrichment to the 20-percent level within 24 hours if it chooses to do so. He adds, “the structure of the sanctions and the antagonistic atmosphere created by the West against Iran is falling apart.”

December 19: Talks between Iran and the P5+1 begin in Geneva to discuss the implementation of the interim agreement. 

In the Senate, a bipartisan group of 13 Republicans and 13 Democrats formally introduce the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (S. 1881), which would impose sanctions-in-waiting pending the outcome of the talks with Iran. “Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table,” says Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

President Obama threatens to veto the bill.

December 23: “We have never even considered the option of acquiring nuclear weapons,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says. “We’ll never give up our right to profit from nuclear energy. But we are working towards removing all doubts and answer all reasonable questions about our program.”

December 26: The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, says the country is building a new generation of centrifuges. 


January 2: “International Investors Flock to Tehran” due to the impending relaxation of sanctions, reports Spiegel International.

January 8: The United States criticizes Iran for its role in fueling the Syrian civil war. “At this point, Iran has done nothing but helped the [Syrian] regime, help bring foreign fighters in, help the regime’s efforts to brutalize the Syrian people,” says State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Turkey says its state-owned Halkbank will continue to process payments for Turkey’s oil and gas imports from Iran.

According to the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran, Iranian oil exports spiked dramatically in December 2013 due to the announced relaxations of sanctions.

January 9: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says it is negotiating “with the Satan [i.e., the United States] to deter its evil.”

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (S. 1881) reaches 59 cosponsors despite President Obama’s veto threats.

January 13: The White House says a vote for new Iran sanctions would constitute a “march toward war.” “It just stands to reason if you close the diplomatic option, you’re left with a difficult choice of waiting to see if sanctions cause Iran to capitulate, which we don’t think will happen, or considering military action,” says Benjamin J. Rhodes, deputy national security adviser.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) responds, “I think that is absolutely untrue—an irresponsible assertion and ought to be clarified and retracted by those who have made it with the administration.”

January 14: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasts on Twitter that world powers have effectively “surrendered” to Tehran by signing the interim agreement.

January 15: President Obama hosts Senate Democrats at the White House to urge them to oppose new Iran sanctions legislation.

January 20: The P5+1 and Iran formally begin implementing the six-month interim agreement, which is now set to expire on November 24, 2014.

January 23: Top European oil firms meet with Iranian officials to discuss the resumption of economic ties.

January 28: In his State of the Union address, President Obama reiterates his pledge to veto any new sanctions legislation.

January 29: A new U.S. intelligence report indicates that Iran’s capacity to develop a missile with a nuclear warhead rests chiefly on political will, not technical limitations.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan visits Iran and signs three trade agreements with the regime.

February 5: Secretary of State John Kerry calls a recent trip to Iran by French business executives “unhelpful,” saying it undermines U.S. efforts to ensure that Iran remains closed for business.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says America’s “wishes won’t come true” during negotiations.

February 9: Iran agrees to provide increased transparency on its nuclear activities, including any military dimensions.

February 10: Iran announces it has developed a new generation of centrifuges 15 times faster than current models.

February 11: President Obama vows to enforce existing sanctions on Iran. “We will come down on them [i.e., sanctions violators] like a ton of bricks,” he says.

February 18-20: The first round of talks between the P5+1 and Iran to reach a final agreement takes place in Vienna. Iranian officials say they will not accept dismantling the country’s nuclear facilities. At the conclusion of the talks, the parties say they have agreed on a timetable and framework for discussions.

February 23: The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, says Iran will not accept restrictions on its uranium enrichment.

February 27: A State Department report indicates that Iran remains among the world’s leading human rights offenders despite President Hassan Rouhani’s promises of reform and moderation.

“I can tell you that Iran’s nuclear program will remain intact,” says Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. “We will not close any program.”

March 4: An Iranian general mocks President Obama’s threats to use military force against Iran if negotiations fail. “The low-IQ U.S. president and his country’s Secretary of State John Kerry speak of the effectiveness of ‘the U.S. options on the table’ on Iran while this phrase is mocked at and has become a joke among the Iranian nation, especially the children,” General Masoud Jazayeri says.

March 10: Iran says it would seek to postpone investigations into the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.

March 11: Defying international sanctions, Tehran and Moscow reach an agreement to build more nuclear power plants in Iran.

March 17-20: The P5+1 and Iran hold their second round of talks in Vienna.

March 18: In letters to President Obama, 83 senators and 395 House members state that Congress must play a strong role in the negotiations with Iran.

March 26: Reuters reports, “Iran’s oil exports have stayed above levels allowed under Western sanctions for a fifth month, according to sources who track tanker movements, in a further sign that a deal to ease some restrictions is helping Tehran sell more crude.”

March 30: Iran appoints as its U.N. ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi, who belongs to the group that took 52 Americans as hostages for 444 days in 1979-1981.

April 4: The U.S. Treasury Department grants Boeing Co. a license to sell parts to Iran for its aging civilian aircraft.

April 8-9: Iran and the P5+1 engage in a third round of talks in Vienna. “A lot of intensive work will be required to overcome the differences which naturally still exist at this stage in the process,” the parties say in a statement when the talks conclude.

April 9: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says, “None of the country’s nuclear achievements can be stopped, and no one has the right to bargain over it.”

April 10: The House unanimously votes to oppose Iran’s choice of Hamid Aboutalebi as its U.N. ambassador.

April 11: The International Energy Agency says Iran, for the fifth consecutive month, has likely exported oil at higher levels than sanctions permit.

April 27: A U.S. official expresses concern about the threat of Iran’s ballistic missiles. “As long as Iran continues to develop ballistic missiles that can threaten the United States or deployed forces and our friends and allies in the region, we will work effectively with our partners here in the UAE as well as the rest of the Gulf to defend against that threat,” says Frank Rose, deputy assistant secretary of state for space and defense policy.

April 30: In its annual terrorism report, the State Department says Iran has continued its terrorist activities.

May 5: The naval commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, says the destruction of the U.S. Navy is one of Iran’s major operational goals.

May 11: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Western demands on Tehran to halt its ballistic missile development are “stupid and idiotic.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran will return to enriching uranium at the 20-percent level “whenever necessary” and will not accept “nuclear apartheid.”

May 12: The United Nations releases a report that details extensive efforts by Tehran to evade sanctions and illicitly obtain materials for its nuclear and missile programs.

May 14-16: Iran and the P5+1 engage in their fourth round of talks in Vienna. The parties report no progress, with the extent of Iran’s enrichment efforts constituting a key sticking point.

May 14: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Israel is a “fake nation” and its leaders are “wicked terrorists.”

May 15: Iran misses a deadline to provide information about its past nuclear activities to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

May 16: During a trip to Israel, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says the United States “will do what we must” to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon.

May 23: The International Atomic Energy Agency indicates that Iran continues to block efforts to stymie a key site suspected of housing nuclear weapons research.

May 25: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tells members of Iran’s parliament, “Battle and jihad are endless because evil and its front continue to exist. … This battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors’ front with America at the head of it, which has expanded its claws on human mind, body and thought.”

May 29: Brigadier-General Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, says “that the U.S. empire is coming to an end.”

June 4: In an address to Iran’s military and political establishment, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the United States has removed the military option from the table. A banner behind him reads, “America cannot do a damn thing.”

June 7: In advance of a scheduled June 9-10 bilateral meeting between U.S. and Iranian officials in Geneva, The New York Times calls the nuclear talks “sputtering.”

June 9-10: Bilateral talks between the United States and Iran take place in Switzerland. No progress is reported.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits Turkey—the first official visit of an Iranian president in 18 years—and signs ten cooperative agreements on energy and trade.

June 10: “We are still hitting a wall on one absolutely fundamental point, which is the number of centrifuges which allow enrichment,” says French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. “We say that there can be a few hundred centrifuges, but the Iranians want thousands, so we’re not in the same framework.”

June 17: British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the “circumstances are right” to reopen the British embassy in Tehran.

June 16-20: Iran and the P5+1 hold their fifth round of talks. No meaningful progress is reported.

June 30: In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Secretary of State John Kerry writes: “There remains a discrepancy, however, between Iran’s professed intent with respect to its nuclear program and the actual content of that program to date. The divide between what Iran says and what it has done underscores why these negotiations are necessary and why the international community united to impose sanctions in the first place. … the United States and our partners will not consent to an extension merely to drag out negotiations.”

July 2: In a YouTube video, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif says sanctions “didn’t bring the Iranian people to kneel in submission. And it will not now, nor in the future.”

July 3: Iran and the P5+1 resume talks in Vienna for a two-week marathon session that aims to reach a final agreement before the July 20 deadline.

July 7: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Iran must retain the capability to enrich uranium on an industrial scale as part of any final agreement.

July 10: In a letter to President Obama, 344 House members urge him to consult with Congress on any sanctions relief that may be part of a final agreement with Iran.

July 12: A senior U.S. official says it would be “hard to contemplate an extension [of talks with Iran] without seeing significant progress on some key issues, and that’s what we’re going to be looking for over the next few days.”

July 19: The P5+1 and Iran agree to extend talks through November 24, 2014.

July 21: Taking advantage of the relaxed sanctions environment, China imports a record amount of crude oil from Iran in the first half of 2014, according to Chinese customs data.

July 22: Diplomatic sources say the International Atomic Energy Agency is concerned about Iran’s lack of engagement in an investigation into the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.

July 23: Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John McCain (R-AZ) and James Risch (R-ID) introduce the Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act of 2014 (S. 2650), which would force President Obama to submit any deal to Congress for approval.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls for the “annihilation” of the State of Israel.

July 29: The New York Times reports a recent statement by a senior administration official that the Obama administration would bypass Congress in the first stages of implementing a potential deal with Iran. With regard to lifting sanctions, the official says, “The early suspensions would be executive action.”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls Israel a “rabid dog” and “rapacious wolf” for its campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

July 30: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani calls Israel “a festering Zionist tumor.”

August 5: The International Monetary Fund says Iran’s economy has stabilized due to the easing of international sanctions and Iranian policies reducing energy subsidies.

August 7: The United States and Iran hold bilateral talks. No progress is reported.

August 12: Iran seeks ways to bypass Western sanctions by exporting an ultralight oil to China and other Asian markets, thereby increasing its trade value by potentially billions of dollars annually.

August 13: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the nuclear talks are “useless.”

August 15: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says it is “unlikely” the parties will reach a final agreement by the November 24 deadline.

In an attempt to link the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, to U.S. policy toward Israel, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweets, “Brutal treatment of black ppl isn’t indeed the only anti-human rights act by US govt;look at US’s green light to #Israel’s crimes. #Ferguson”

August 17: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says, “Iran’s ballistic [missile] capability is not negotiable at any level.”

August 27: The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, says Tehran has conducted “mechanical” tests of the IR-8, a new, advanced centrifuge to enrich uranium.

August 30: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says he doubts whether America has “adequate good will” to resolve the nuclear dispute and acknowledges that Tehran sidesteps sanctions. “Yes, of course, we bypass the sanctions,” he says. “We believe they are illegal and crimes against humanity.”

September 6: The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has failed to meet an agreed deadline to address concerns about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.

September 9: Iran says it is in talks with Russia about economic cooperation on energy in order to bypass Western sanctions.

September 11: Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi says the parties face a “difficult road to go” to reach a nuclear deal, and calls on world powers to abandon their “illogical demands.”

September 15: Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says—citing Iran’s continued lack of cooperation in its investigation—that the IAEA is still not in a position to “conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” He also says the probe will not be “an endless process.”

September 16: The top U.S. negotiator, Wendy Sherman, says the status quo on Iran’s enrichment program is not “acceptable.” “We remain far apart on other core issues, including the size and scope of Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity,” she says.

September 18: At a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Western powers tell Iran it must cooperate with an investigation into its atomic bomb research. “Concerns about the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program must be addressed as part of any comprehensive solution,” says U.S. envoy to the IAEA Laura Kennedy.

September 19: The United States reportedly offers a compromise proposal that would entail disconnecting Iran’s centrifuges while allowing the Iranians to keep the machinery itself. Tehran reportedly rejects the idea.

September 21: Tehran says it is ready to cooperate with the United States against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in exchange for a loosening of U.S. demands regarding Tehran’s uranium enrichment program.

September 23: Behrouz Kamalvandi, the vice chairman of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, says that Western suspicions about its nuclear weapons research are little more than “fabricated ambiguities.”

September 25-26: In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says, “We are committed to continue our peaceful nuclear program, including enrichment, and to enjoy our full nuclear rights on Iranian soil within the framework of international law.” At a news conference the next day, he says: “Iran will never surrender its legal right to peaceful nuclear activities. Uranium enrichment will continue in Iran.”

October 1: In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, 354 House members state that Iran must disclose the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program as part of a final agreement.

October 3: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says, “the Zionist regime and its supporters will one day go into extinction.”

October 7-8: Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency hold talks on the possible military dimensions of Tehran’s nuclear program. No breakthrough is reported.

October 8: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issues a series of red lines—including a robust enrichment program and the continued work of nuclear scientists —that any final agreement must meet.

October 13: “What’s important is that the nuclear issue is irreversible,” says Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blames America, Israel and Britain for creating Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). “America, Zionism, and especially the veteran expert of spreading divisions—the wicked government of Britain—have sharply increased their efforts of creating divisions between the Sunnis and Shi’ites,” Khamenei says.

Saudi Arabia criticizes Iran’s activities in the Middle East. “If Iran wants to be part of the solution, it has to pull its forces from Syria. The same applies elsewhere, whether in Yemen or Iraq,” says Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian responds, “Iran is helping the people of Syria, Iraq and the region in the fight against terrorism within the framework of international laws.”

October 15-16: European Voice, a Brussels-based newspaper, hosts an international conference that aims “to properly prepare and evaluate the post-sanctions trade framework and investment opportunities.” According to the European Voice website, “With the prospect of improved political relations and a new business climate between Europe and Iran, a momentous commercial opportunity presents itself.”

October 16-17: Iran and the P5+1 hold talks in Vienna, with no progress reported. “There is an array of issues that cannot be considered fully resolved yet, and thus cannot be laid out on paper,” says Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

October 18: Ali Younesi, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, says, “Obama is the weakest president the U.S. has ever had, because he has suffered humiliating defeat in this region, and his term in office saw the coming of the Islamic awakening that dealt the Americans the greatest defeat.”

October 19: A senior U.S. official says the White House seeks to bypass Congress in its implementation of any deal with Iran. “We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years,” the senior official says.

October 20: In a concession to Iran, the United States reportedly says it would allow the regime to possess 4,000 centrifuges, up from an earlier proposed limit of 1,300.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has yet to cooperate with an investigation of the possible military dimensions of its program.

October 29: Apple Inc. is reportedly in talks with Iranian distributors about pursuing business in the country should international sanctions ease.

October 31: Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says Iran has stopped answering questions about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.

November 4: An Iranian website reports that the United States has agreed to allow Iran to possess 6,000 centrifuges, up from a previous proposed limit of 4,000.

November 5: President Obama says the United States has offered Iran a framework for a final agreement. “We presented to them a framework that would allow them to meet their peaceful energy needs,” Obama says. Secretary of State John Kerry echoes his remarks. “They have a right to a peaceful program but not a track to a bomb,” Kerry says. “We believe it is pretty easy to prove to the world that a plan is peaceful.”

November 6: The Wall Street Journal reports that President Obama sent a letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in mid-October expressing willingness to cooperate in the campaign against ISIS if Tehran and the P5+1 reach an agreement on the nuclear program.

November 7: The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium has grown by 8 percent to 8.4 tons in some two months.

November 8: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei once again calls for the destruction of Israel. “This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated,” Khamenei writes on Twitter.

November 9: President Obama expresses caution about the prospects of a deal. “There’s still a big gap,” he says. “We may not be able to get there.”

November 9-10: The United States, European Union and Iran hold talks in Oman. No progress is reported.

November 11: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says there has been “no change in Iran’s rigid stance on its inalienable nuclear rights.”

Moscow and Tehran sign an agreement to build two new nuclear power reactors in Iran—with the possibility of six more in the future.

November 13: Republican senators try unsuccessfully to force a vote in the Senate on the Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act of 2014 (S. 2650), which would impose sanctions on Iran if the parties fail to reach a deal by the November 24 deadline.

November 18: A Western intelligence report says Iran is transferring money through Chinese bank to finance the international operations of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps elite Quds Force.

November 20: In a letter to President Obama, 45 Republican senators urge him “to cease efforts to circumvent Congress and work with us on a smarter approach that will decisively end Iran’s nuclear threat.  Unless the White House genuinely engages with Congress, we see no way that any agreement consisting of your administration’s current proposals to Iran will endure in the 114th Congress and after your presidential term ends.”

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says he cannot provide “credible assurance” that Iran has no undeclared nuclear material and activities.

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, says Iran would no longer negotiate about the design of the Arak heavy water reactor.

November 18-24: The P5+1 and Iran hold a final round of talks in Vienna before the deadline, ultimately deciding to extend negotiations until June 30, 2015.

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The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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