Iranian missile display in Tehran
Iranian missile display in Tehran Reuters

Iran and the Western powers negotiating at Vienna have reached the basis for a new agreement to limit Tehran’s nuclear program, and will announce the deal next week, France’s foreign minister said Friday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Ma’ariv Friday morning that the new nuclear agreement will be announced by the US and Iran next week, claiming that the two sides have already reached an understanding regarding the tentative deal.

Le Drian said that details of the new deal, including the “choreography” of its signing and which officials will represent the signatories have yet to be finalized.

While the deal appears to be final, Le Drian hinted that Iran could try to “blow up” talks at the last minute, and warned Tehran against attempting to try to extract additional concessions ahead of the signing of the deal.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian recently levelled a new demand, calling on signatories – in particular the US – to pass legislative measures ensuring they will not leave the agreement in the future.

The new deal is expected to largely adhere to the framework of the original, 2015 nuclear agreement, and according to a report by Reuters, will include the immediate unfreezing of $7 billion in Iranian assets in South Korea.

In exchange, in the initial phase of the new deal’s implementation, Iran will release foreign nationals it is holding, and will freeze uranium enrichment over 5%.

Sanctions on Iran’s energy sector will not be lifted in the first phase of the new deal, and Iran has reportedly backed down from its demand that signatories agree never to impose new sanctions on Iran.

The US has reportedly agreed that if it leaves the nuclear agreement a second time, Iran will be permitted to increase uranium enrichment to 60%.

Friday’s report comes on the heels of comments by a US State Department official to AFP, claiming that a nuclear deal is possible within days if Iran “shows seriousness”

Stating that "substantial progress has been made in the last week," a State Department spokesperson told AFP that "if Iran shows seriousness, we can and should reach an understanding on mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA within days.”

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