Iran’s nuclear envoy: We’re closer to deal than ever, but US must make decisions

Negotiators trying to save the Iran nuclear deal meet today to take stock at the end of the latest round of talks, and a day after an ultraconservative won the presidential election in the Islamic Republic.

The meeting is part of their regular discussions since early April, aimed at bringing the US back to the 2015 landmark agreement and Iran back into compliance with curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Negotiators have said the presidential election is not expected to influence the talks though Raisi’s views are widely seen as a break from the more moderate stances of former president Hassan Rouhani.

Iran’s envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, says that after the day’s meeting in Vienna negotiators will take a break to return to their capitals, ending the sixth round of talks.

Political deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Abbas Araghchi, enters the ‘Grand Hotel Wien’ where closed-door nuclear talks take place in Vienna, Austria, May 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

“We are now closer to an agreement than ever. But it is not an easy task to close the distance currently between us and an agreement,” he tells Iran’s national television. “At this point, it is clear which fields, which actions are possible and which are not. Therefore, it is time for all sides, especially our counterparts, to be able to make their final decision.”

He adds he cannot say how many days the latest break will last.

He also says that “bridging the gaps requires decisions that mainly [the US] has to take. I hope in the next round we will travel this short distance — although it is a difficult one.”

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