Negotiations between Iran and the US on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal are close to completion, the European Union’s senior negotiator at the talks said on Sunday, but it remained unclear whether Tehran will accept the final deal, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The text of an agreement could be closed in coming hours, said the EU’s Enrique Mora, the coordinator of the talks. However, Iran must still decide whether to set aside its demand that the nuclear deal can only be revived if a multiyear United Nations atomic agency probe into its nuclear program is closed.
“We were negotiating some technical questions that were open in the text,” Mora told reporters in Vienna, according to WSJ. “We are advancing and I expect that we will close this negotiation soon.”
The final text would need to be approved by Iran, the US and the other participants in the talks, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany. The senior French, UK and German negotiators aren’t currently in Vienna.
Western officials have said Iran needs to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and insisted they wouldn’t intervene to close the probe or to set a fixed deadline for the agency’s work.
One Western diplomat said there would be no reference to Iran’s demands to close the nuclear probe in the text of the agreement being worked on.
On Monday, there will be no formal negotiations because of the Iranian holy day of Ashura. However, the aim is to have the final text ready for a final decision in the coming days, according to WSJ.
Iran scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal, in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018, but has held several rounds of indirect talks with the US on a return to the agreement.
An agreement was nearly reached before the talks stopped in March.
In June, Iran began removing essentially all the monitoring equipment installed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under the 2015 nuclear deal.
The talks resumed last Thursday after Iran softened one of its remaining demands: the lifting of terror sanctions on its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps.
On Saturday, Iran's Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian called for a "realistic response" from the United States to Iranian proposals at indirect talks in Vienna.
The Foreign Minister “stressed the need for a realistic US response to Iran's constructive proposals on various issues to make the deal work," state media reported, without providing details on the proposals.