The EU’s top envoy for the Iranian nuclear talks says a confident agreement will be reached

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flutters in front of the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, September 9, 2019. REUTERS / Leonhard Foeger

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By Francois Murphy and John Irish

VIENNA (Reuters) – The EU’s official talks on the revival of the Iranian nuclear deal said on Wednesday that he was “fairly certain” that an agreement would be reached as negotiations would be suspended for a week.

The talks were resumed on May 7th in Vienna. The other parties – Iran, Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany – met in the basement of a luxury hotel and the United States met in another hotel across the street.

Iran has refused to hold direct talks with the United States on resuming compliance with the deal that former President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, and has led Tehran to break its rules about a year later.

“I’m pretty sure there will be a final agreement … I think we are on the right track and will come to an agreement,” said Enrique Mora, who coordinates the indirect talks between Iran and the United States, to reporters at the end of a fourth round of negotiations in Vienna.

Russian envoy Mikhail Ulyanov said on Twitter that participants felt that good progress had been made after the last round and that a deal was “within reach”. Ulyanov said he hoped next week would be the final round.

When asked if he said there would be a deal in the next round, Mora said, “I can’t make such a prediction. What I can risk is that there will be an agreement, yes, sure.”

‘GOOD PROGRESS

Prior to the meeting, top Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi told Iranian state television that “good” progress had been made in the talks, but that “some key issues need further discussion”.

At the heart of the original deal was Iran’s pledge to curb its nuclear program to make it more difficult to obtain fissile material for a nuclear weapon in exchange for easing US, EU and UN sanctions.

“An agreement is emerging. Now a common understanding of what is still needed for the US to return to #JCPOA, the lifting of related sanctions and the resumption of nuclear obligations by Iran,” Mora said on Twitter, referencing the joint comprehensive action plan.

Officials have said they hope to reach an agreement by May 21, when an agreement between Tehran and the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, to continue monitoring some Iranian nuclear activities expires.

Mora said Iran is continuing to negotiate with the IAEA to extend this agreement.

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