Josep Borrell
Josep BorrellReuters

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Friday he was optimistic about an Iran nuclear deal being struck within “the next few weeks”.

“The atmosphere has improved since Christmas,” he told reporters following an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in the French city of Brest, according to Politico. “I was pessimistic prior to that but now I think we can reach an agreement.”

He added that “in the next few weeks, I hope I will be able to inform you of the final results” of a deal. “I hope that we will be able to ensure the agreement.”

Speaking alongside Borrell, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was “vital” that negotiations “succeed,” but he sounded less optimistic as he warned that the speed of negotiations was not sufficient.

“This negotiation advances way too slow,” said Le Drian. “The choice is to return to the JCPOA agreement very quickly, or [to accept] a new [nuclear] proliferation crisis with Iran.”

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.

On Sunday, Iran's Foreign Minister said the talks are approaching a "good agreement" but reaching one soon depends on the other parties.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry made clear that the Islamic Republic would not settle for an interim agreement.

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.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)