Iran's Zarif: We've never been closer to a nuclear deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, left, meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna, Austria, Friday July 3, 2015 (AP)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday Iran and world powers had never been closer to a nuclear deal but that there was no guarantee of success.

In a statement broadcast on Youtube, Zarif added: "I see hope because I see emergence of reason over illusion. I sense that my negotiating partners have recognised that coercion and pressure never lead to lasting solutions but to more conflict and further hostility."

Earlier on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised a “genuine effort” by all sides negotiating a nuclear accord with Iran to get the deal done as a new deadline looms.

“We have some tough issues, but there’s been a genuine effort by everybody to be serious about this and to understand the time constraints that we’re working under,” Kerry said as he began a new round of talks with his Iranian counterpart  Zarif.

The teams were working “very diligently all day in order to maximize progress” and with “a great sense of purpose in a good-faith effort to make progress. And we are making progress,” the top US diplomat said.

“We will continue to work. Tonight. Tomorrow. Sunday. And we certainly both want to try to see if we can arrive at a conclusion,” Kerry added.

Many of the ministers from the global powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - negotiating a deal to put a nuclear bomb out of Iran’s reach are due back in Vienna on Sunday ahead of Tuesday’s new deadline for an accord.

“Well we’re just working. I agree. We’re all trying very hard in order to be able to move forward and we have made some progress,” Zarif said.

“There are still tough issues to discuss and to resolve but I think, with political will, we will.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46