Iran nuclear deal

Iran, EU officials say nuclear deal not yet done as officials focus on ‘final’ steps

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Iran said on Thursday more efforts were needed to revive its 2015 nuclear deal, while the EU official coordinating nuclear talks between Tehran and world powers said “we are definitely not there yet” but that talks were in the “final stages.”

“Premature good news does not substitute good agreement. Nobody can say the deal is done, until all the outstanding remaining issues are resolved. Extra efforts needed,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh wrote on Twitter.

“Everybody is now focused on the final critical steps.”

The European Union’s Enrique Mora, who coordinates ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and world powers aimed at reviving the 2015 deal, said on Thursday that the talks were at their “final stages,” adding that “success is never guaranteed in such a complex negotiation.”

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“Some relevant issues are still open and success is never guaranteed in such a complex negotiation,” Mora wrote on Twitter.

“Doing our best in the coordinator’s team. But we are definitely not there yet.”

Talks between the remaining signatories to the deal – Iran, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain – are currently taking place in Vienna.

The US is participating indirectly in the talks due to Iran’s refusal to negotiate directly with Washington.

Earlier on Thursday, Britain’s envoy to the talks said negotiators were “very close to an agreement.”

“We are very close to an agreement. All parties have negotiated constructively under the leadership of the EU Coordinator Enrique Mora. Now we have to take the few final steps,” Stephanie Al-Qaq wrote on Twitter.

French chief negotiator Philippe Errera tweeted a photo of French, British and German diplomats at the talks on Thursday, writing: “Thank you for your tireless work over the last 11 months.”

Errera’s tweet was interpreted by some on social media as meaning that a deal was imminent.

The Vienna talks, which began in April 2021, aim to bring Iran back into compliance with the deal and facilitate a US return to the agreement. The deal offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Washington withdrew from the deal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, reimposing sweeping economic sanctions on Tehran. That prompted Iran to breach many of the deal’s restrictions, including a 3.67 percent cap on the purity to which it could enrich uranium.

Tehran, which insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, has since started enriching uranium up to as high as 60 percent purity – a big step closer to the 90 percent required for weapons-grade material.

A collapse in the Vienna talks could lead to more isolation for Iran and even military conflict. Israel has previously warned it would use force should diplomacy fail to slow down Iran’s fast-advancing nuclear program.

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UN nuclear watchdog chief to travel to Iran on Saturday: Spokesman

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