Hossein Amir-Abdollahian
Hossein Amir-AbdollahianKirill Kudryavtsev/Pool via REUTERS

Talks between Tehran and world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal are approaching a "good agreement" but reaching one soon depends on the other parties, Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday.

"The initiatives of the Iranian side and the negotiations that have taken place have put us on the right track," Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was quoted by AFP as having said.

"We are close to a good agreement, but to reach this good agreement in the short term, it must be pursued by the other side," he added.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with world powers in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

However, it has held indirect talks with the US on reviving the deal. Negotiations to restore the deal resumed in late November after they were suspended in June.

Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday the Islamic Republic was not looking to "drag out" negotiations.

It is "important for us to defend the rights and interests of our country", he said.

Amir-Abdollahian stated that "yesterday, France played the role of a bad cop, but today it is behaving reasonably."

"Yesterday, the American side had unacceptable demands, but today we believe that it has adapted to the realities" of the situation, he added. "At the end of the day, a good deal is an agreement that satisfies all parties."

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry said last week that Iran has detected a new “realism” on the part of Western countries.

“We sense a retreat, or rather realism from the Western parties in the Vienna negotiations, that there can be no demands beyond the nuclear accord,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters, according to the AFP news agency.

At the same time, he added, “It is too early to judge if the United States and the three European countries have drawn up a real agenda to commit to lifting sanctions.”

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly demanded that the US lift sanctions imposed on Iran and also reassure Iran it will not abandon the deal again as a precondition for its returning to compliance with the deal.

US officials have said that while they prefer the diplomatic route to reach an agreement with Iran, there are other options on the table should that fail.