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05/12/2016

Mogherini optimistic about Iran talks

Global Europe

Mogherini optimistic about Iran talks

EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

[Reuters]

A nuclear deal with Iran is “very close” after almost two years of negotiations, the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Sunday (5 July).

Speaking as she arrived back in Vienna to join down-to-the-wire negotiations, Mogherini told reporters: “The time is now… We are very close.”

Global powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States — have been seeking to hammer out a deal with Iran to curtail its nuclear programme in exchange for an easing of biting sanctions.

After an intense weekend of talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, ministers are returning in the hopes of being able to finalise the deal.

“The atmosphere is constructive, positive,” Mogherini told reporters as she arrived at the Palais Coburg where the closed-door negotiations are being held.

“I see the political will … now it is a matter of seeing all together if this political will manages to translate into political decisions.”

“Now is the time to see if all of this matures into a deal,” she added.

John Kerry said on Sunday that reaching an agreement is possible this week if Iran makes the “hard choices” necessary, but if not, the United States stands ready to walk away from the negotiations.

An Iranian official told the semi-official Tasnim news agency that the talks could continue until 9 July, echoing some Western diplomats. But Kerry said negotiators were still aiming for Tuesday’s deadline.

An Iranian official told the semi-official Tasnim news agency that the talks could continue until 9 July, echoing some Western diplomats. But Kerry said negotiators were still aiming for Tuesday’s deadline.

The negotiators missed a self-imposed J30 June deadline for the final accord but have given themselves until 7 July.

“The final deadline is late Wednesday or early Thursday,” the official told Tasnim.