Iran nuclear deal in sight, says EU co-ordinator in Vienna

Negotiators adopt optimistic tone as talks enter 'final decisive period'

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell held talks with Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian over the phone. AFP
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An agreement to revive the Iran nuclear deal is in sight, the EU's co-ordinator for the Vienna negotiations between Tehran and the US has said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he “strongly believes” an agreement is near after holding talks with Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian over the phone.

Mr Borrell wrote on Twitter “the moment has come to make an ultimate effort and reach a compromise".

Mr Amirabdollahian also discussed the nuclear talks with British Foreign Minister Liz Truss over the phone. According to a transcript of the call, the two also spoke about bilateral and regional issues.

Ms Truss told Mr Amirabdollahian that she hoped Britain could pay its debt to Iran in the near future and stressed the importance of a future relationship between the two countries.

The British foreign minister has been pessimistic about the pace of the Vienna negotiations and recently told the UK Parliament that all options would be on the table in dealing with Iran should a deal not come through soon.

While negotiations have been rocky due to concerns about the seriousness of all parties involved, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, with US state department spokesman Ned Price telling reporters that the talks are in a “final decisive period".

“We are going to be a bit more circumspect in terms of the progress that we may be seeing on the ground in Vienna precisely because we are in the final stages of what is, by any measure, a complex negotiation with key stakeholders,” he said.

“The fact is that this is the final decisive period during which we will be in a position to determine whether a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] remains a possibility.”

No end date has been given for the talks as of yet nor has a draft of a potential deal been released.

Updated: February 15, 2022, 7:09 AM