Iranian foreign minister says nuclear deal is ‘closer than ever’

FILE PHOTO: Iranian Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian attends a press conference following his meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Berri in Beirut
FILE PHOTO: Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian is seen during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon October 7, 2021. REUTERS/Aziz Taher/ /File Photo

March 23, 2022

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic and world powers are closer than ever to reviving a 2015 nuclear deal.

“If the US acts pragmatically, we are ready to have the foreign ministers of the countries that are part of the joint nuclear deal commission meet in Vienna to finalize the deal,” Amirabdollahian said during a press conference in Damascus along with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad .

“We believe that today we are closer to an agreement in Vienna than ever before.”

After 11 months of negotiations, Iran and the United States now say the ball is in each other’s hands to revive the deal that would curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting tough sanctions on Iran’s economy.

On Tuesday, the US State Department said a return to the deal is neither certain nor imminent.

The talks were close to agreement until Russia demanded guarantees from the United States that sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine would not affect its trade with Iran.

“We have submitted our latest proposals to the US through the European Union coordinator with a view to reaching a final agreement. We have reminded Americans that we will not cross our red lines,” Amirabdollahian said on Wednesday.

The foreign minister also said Tehran welcomes new talks between Syria and certain Arab countries.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad traveled to the United Arab Emirates last week, his first visit to an Arab state since the Syrian war began in 2011, and stressed warming ties with a US-allied country that once supported rebels, who sought his dismissal.

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Michael Georgy, Toby Chopra, William Maclean)

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Bobby Allyn

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