U.S. nuclear negotiator will not guarantee end to Iran extensions


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The lead U.S. nuclear negotiator on Tuesday declined to guarantee that there would be no further extensions of an interim nuclear agreement with Iran, but said participants intend to finish the international talks at the end of the current four-month extension.

"Our intent is absolutely to end this on Nov. 24 in one direction or the other," Wendy Sherman, the under secretary of State for political affairs, said at a Senate hearing.

Iran and six world powers agreed to extend nuclear talks, and the temporary agreement, by four months after they failed to reach a July 20 deadline for a long-term deal. The deal would gradually lift sanctions, which have crippled Iran's economy, in exchange for curbs on Tehran's atomic programme.

Many members of the U.S. Congress, especially Republicans, are sceptical about the talks and say they are concerned that Iran is not negotiating in good faith.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asked Sherman for the guarantee that there would be no extensions.

She declined, although she promised close consultations with Congress.

"I have learned in negotiations that it is very difficult to say what will happen at the end of any given period of time," Sherman said.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Grant McCool)

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