Riga: British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond expressed doubt Wednesday that a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers would be reached by the deadline next week and spoke of the possibility of an extension.
"I am not optimistic that we can get everything done by Monday, but I think if we make some significant movement, we may be able to find a way of extending the deadline to allow us to get to the final deal, if we are making good progress in the right direction," he told reporters in Latvian capital Riga.
"There will need to be some considerable further flexibility shown by the Iranian negotiators over the next four or five days if we are going to get to that deal," said Hammond, whose country is one of the six world powers involved in the talks.
He spoke after meeting with his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics as the deadline loomed to reach the accord, which is aimed at easing fears that Tehran might develop nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian activities -- an ambition Iran denies.
The accord between Iran and the P5+1 -- the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- could resolve a 12-year standoff, silence talk of war and help normalise Iran`s relations with the West.
"The prize is very big: a resetting of relationships between Iran and the West if we can do this deal," Hammond said.
"We do very much want to see a deal done in Iran but we don`t want to do a bad deal. Better no deal than a bad deal.
"The right deal with Iran has to be one which gives us the assurance we need that Iran`s programme is exclusively targeted at civil nuclear use, has no military dimension at all and where Iran`s enrichment capacity is limited to a level that doesn`t present any military threat," he concluded.