Many unresolved issues remain in Iran nuclear talks: Source

A source close to the talks said on Friday that several issues in a range of areas remain unresolved in the indirect talks between Iran and the United States on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“In every part of the (incomplete) paper (which outlines an agreement), there are issues that are still being studied,” the source told reporters, adding that while negotiations were going in the right direction, “they don’t have all the time in the world.”

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Meanwhile, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said on Friday that a renewal of the agreement with Iran on curbing its nuclear program was still “possible” as talks in Vienna progressed in a “better atmosphere”.

“We have come to the end of a long process…there is a better atmosphere since Christmas – before Christmas I was very pessimistic. I think today an agreement is possible,” he said after an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers.
He said a final agreement could be struck “in the coming weeks”.

“I remain hopeful that it will be possible to reformulate this agreement and make it work as it was before the US withdrawal,” he added.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman echoed that sentiment earlier this week, saying that efforts by “all parties” to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers had yielded “good progress” during the Vienna talks.

But Borrell spoke alongside French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who reiterated his view that talks are progressing “too slowly to reach a conclusion”.

“Now we have to finish and come to a decision: either the Iranians will want to complete this, in which case we have the impression that there will be flexibility in the position of the Americans.”

“Or they don’t want to complete that, in which case we will have a major spread crisis,” Le Drian said.

“There will be nothing to negotiate if nothing happens,” he warned.

Negotiations to save the nuclear deal resumed in late November after being suspended in June when Iran elected a new, ultra-conservative government.

The 2015 deal – agreed to by Iran, the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany – offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program to ensure it did not develop atomic weapons.

But then US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in 2018 and reimposed severe sanctions, prompting Tehran to backtrack on its commitments.

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