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“We’re close,” says the British envoy at nuclear talks with Iran as Europeans fly home

FILE PHOTO: Iran nuclear talks continue in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: An Austrian police officer stands in front of the Palais Coburg where behind-closed-door nuclear talks with Iran are taking place February 28, 2022 in Vienna, Austria. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

March 4, 2022

By Francois Murphy and Parisa Hafezi

VIENNA (Reuters) – Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are close to agreement, Britain’s chief envoy said on Friday as she and her French and German counterparts flew home to attend to inform the ministers.

“We are close. E3 negotiators are leaving Vienna briefly to update ministers on the current status. Ready to return soon,” Stephanie Al-Qaq said on Twitter, referring to the British, French and Germans involved in the talks chief diplomat.

Despite the British diplomat’s teasing Twitter post, two sources with direct knowledge said there was still no deal, and European and Iranian officials said Iran’s chief negotiator, nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, is staying in Vienna.

Negotiators have worked for 11 months to revive the 2015 deal under which Iran curtailed its nuclear program to make it harder to obtain fissile material for a bomb – an ambition Tehran denies – in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

Then US President Donald Trump revoked the pact in 2018, restored US sanctions that had reduced Iranian oil exports and prompted Iran to begin violating the deal’s nuclear restrictions about a year later.

On Thursday, Russia’s chief diplomat said at the talks he didn’t think they would collapse now and that a ministerial meeting – typically where a deal would be blessed – was likely, but he couldn’t say if it would be on Saturday, Sunday or Monday would.

However, there are countless pieces that need to fit together for a deal to happen.

A joker is an attempt by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to clarify questions about nuclear materials that the Vienna-based agency suspects Iran has not explained, another obstacle to a deal to revive the deal.

The IAEA has found particles of processed uranium at three apparently ancient locations that Iran has never specified, and has repeatedly said Tehran has not provided satisfactory answers.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi will travel to Tehran on Saturday in hopes of agreeing on a process that would lead to the end of the inquiry and potentially pave the way for a broader agreement, diplomats said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian also hinted that a deal may be close, but said the West’s “rush” to reach a nuclear deal “cannot prevent Iran from adhering to the red lines.”

“Our delegation will continue to work hard to reach a final and good agreement,” Iranian media quoted Amirabdollahian as saying when he told EU top diplomat Joseph Borrell over the phone.

“We are ready to conclude a good and immediate deal,” he said, adding, “Most of Iran’s requests have been addressed in the forthcoming deal.”

(Reporting by Francois Murphy and Parisa Hafezi in Vienna; Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris and by Arshad Mohammed in Saint Paul, Minnesota; Editing by Alistair Bell)

https://www.oann.com/we-are-close-uk-envoy-to-iran-nuclear-talks-says-as-europeans-fly-home/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=we-are-close-uk-envoy-to-iran-nuclear-talks-says-as-europeans-fly-home “We’re close,” says the British envoy at nuclear talks with Iran as Europeans fly home

Bobby Allyn

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