TEHRAN: Tehran’s top diplomat said on Wednesday that talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal have entered a “critical” phase where some key issues still need to be resolved.
The 2015 agreement offered sanctions relief on Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program, but the United States unilaterally withdrew in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump.
Western powers locked in nuclear talks with Iran said last week that a deal was imminent, stressing that the ball was in the court of the Islamic republic.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian said on Wednesday that the talks had reached a “critical and important stage”.
“We hope that some sensitive and important issues remaining in the negotiations will be resolved with realism by the West in the coming days,” he said at a joint press conference with his Omani counterpart, Sayyid Badr al-Busaidi.
While Amir-Abdollahian said he was “optimistic” about the deal, he insisted that Iran would not abandon its “red lines” in negotiations. He did not elaborate.
The Vienna talks, which included Iran, as well as Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia directly and indirectly the USA, resumed in November.
Progress in negotiations has been reported in recent days by France, Germany, the United States and even Iran.
Signs of a deal emerged last week when France warned Iran that it only had days left to agree to a deal.
“This is not a matter of a week, but a matter of one day,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
“We need the political decisions of the Iranians. They have a very clear election,” he told the French Senate on February 16.
Two days later, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the process had reached its “moment of truth”.
He said there was “a chance to reach an agreement that would allow sanctions to be lifted”, but warned that negotiations could still collapse.
Most recently, Iran’s sworn enemy Israel said on Sunday that a deal could happen. agreed soon while warning that it will be “weaker” than the original 2015 deal.