Nuclear Iran
Nuclear IraniStock

The foreign policy chief of the European Union announced on Friday that a pause was needed in the negotiations in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear program, with “external factors” being cited, the Associated Press reported.

A final agreement for the United States to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) it had withdrawn from in 2018 had been said to be close to completion, with Tehran agreeing in principle to limit its expanding nuclear program.

But no new timetable for resuming the talks has been announced.

“A pause in [the Vienna talks] is needed, due to external factors,” EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell said on Twitter. “A final text is essentially ready and on the table.”

“As coordinator, I will, with my team, continue to be in touch with all JCPOA participants and the U.S. to overcome the current situation and to close the agreement.”

Last week, Russia sought to link the negotiations, which have been ongoing since early 2021, to sanctions implemented against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

On Friday, Iran’s foreign ministry said that the pause in the talks would give “momentum” to work out issues that were still unsettled before an agreement could be reached, Bloomberg reported.

“Successful conclusion of talks will be the main focus of all. No external factor will affect our will to go forward for a collective agreement,” Iranian’s foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Twitter.

A State Department spokesperson said on Thursday that the U.S. was nearing a “possible deal – it’s really down to a very small number of outstanding issues.”