Rouhani: A return to the nuclear deal requires only 'will'

Iranian President says a breakthrough to revive the 2015 nuclear deal before he leaves office in August require a "will" beyond his power.

Elad Benari ,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that a breakthrough in talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal before he leaves office in August require a "will" beyond his power.

"Our main issues with the United States in these negotiations have been resolved, and there are only a few minor issues left, on which we will negotiate and produce results," Rouhani said at a televised cabinet meeting, according to AFP.

"If there is the will that this be done in the current administration, then this administration has finished the work," he added.

Iranians vote on June 18 for a new president, with Rouhani having served the maximum two consecutive terms allowed under the constitution. He will hand over power in August.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement, but current President Joe Biden has expressed a desire to return to the agreement – provided Iran resumes compliance with it.

Negotiations have been underway since April in the Austrian capital between Iran and the remaining members to the accord, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. US diplomats have participated indirectly in the talks from a nearby hotel.

Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian envoy at the talks, tweeted they had reached a point where the different countries needed to consult with their respective capitals.

The talks have been halted on Wednesday but are due to resume at the end of next week, he added.

EU negotiator Enrique Mora, who is chairing the talks in Vienna, told journalists Wednesday he hoped that it would be the last round of negotiations.

"But we are going to keep working and I am sure that at the next round next week we will finally have an agreement," he added.

US State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter spoke of progress, while cautioning that reaching an agreement would be neither a fast nor an easy process.

The US and European Union both said recently that more work was needed to revive the 2015 deal, while Rouhani said the "negotiations have achieved 60-70 percent progress."

Iran has demanded that the US lift all the sanctions it has imposed on the Islamic Republic as a condition for it resuming compliance with the deal.