Nuclear talks in Vienna
Nuclear talks in Vienna Handout, Reuters

Nuclear talks between Iran and Western powers are reaching their final stage and now require political input, negotiators from the three European countries involved in the talks said Friday.

"January has been the most intensive period of these talks to date," said a statement quoted by Reuters from the so-called E3: France, Britain and Germany.

"Everyone knows we are reaching the final stage, which requires political decisions. Negotiators are therefore returning to capitals for consultation,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, a French presidential official told AFP that the negotiations in Vienna are difficult but there are some signs that the talks could succeed.

"The negotiations remain difficult as we need to clarify the question of guarantees (on lifting sanctions) and the framework of control over the Iranian nuclear program," said the French presidential official who asked not to be named.

"Nevertheless there are some indications that the negotiations could succeed," added the official, saying President Emmanuel Macron could hold telephone talks with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi in the next days.

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 several rounds of indirect talks with the US on reviving the deal. The talks are being mediated by the remaining five countries that are party to the deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian this week signaled a willingness by Iran to engage directly with the US in discussions over the deal if necessary to reach a satisfactory agreement.

A State Department spokesperson later said the US is prepared to hold direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program.

"We are prepared to meet directly," the spokesperson said, adding, "We have long held the position that it would be more productive to engage with Iran directly, on both JCPOA negotiations and other issues.”

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.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday once again stressed that an agreement with the United States over the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers is possible if sanctions on Iran are lifted.

(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.)