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Iran’s top negotiator says nuclear deal ‘closer than ever’

State Department spokesman says US in ‘very final stages’ of indirect talks with Islamic Republic aimed at salvaging the 2015 agreement

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani is seen leaving the Coburg Palais, venue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) meeting aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal, in Vienna, on December 3, 2021. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani is seen leaving the Coburg Palais, venue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) meeting aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal, in Vienna, on December 3, 2021. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

Iran’s top negotiator in Vienna said Wednesday that world powers are “closer than ever” to reaching an agreement to revive a multilateral nuclear accord, as the US said it was in the “very final stages” of indirect talks with the Islamic Republic.

“After weeks of intensive talks, we are closer than ever to an agreement,” Iranian diplomat Ali Bagheri Kani wrote on Twitter before clarifying that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, though.”

Kani urged negotiating partners to “be realistic,” adding that it was time for “serious decisions.”

Asked about the status of talks in Vienna aimed at a joint US-Iran return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the parties were “in the midst of the very final stages” of talks and that the US would have a better assessment of Iran’s seriousness “in the coming days.”

Indirect talks in Vienna between Iran and the United States on reviving the tattered agreement resumed last week after a 10-day hiatus.

US President Joe Biden came into office vowing to return to the JCPOA, which was signed in 2015. His predecessor Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018, implementing a wide array of sanctions against Iran, which led Tehran to begin enriching uranium at levels that violate the original agreement.

A general view of Palais Coburg, the site of a meeting where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place in Vienna, Austria, Feb. 8, 2022. (Lisa Leutner/AP)

World powers have held eight rounds of negotiations in Vienna aimed at reviving the JCPOA. Those talks resumed last week after a 10-day hiatus.

Earlier Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian briefed lawmakers in his country that Iran has days, not weeks, to decide whether it wanted to return to the JCPOA.

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