European Union hails progress on talks with Iran to restore nuclear deal

VIENNA: Top diplomats said Sunday that further progress had been made at talks between Iran and global powers to try to restore a landmark 2015 agreement to contain Iranian nuclear development that was abandoned by the Donald Trump admin. They said it was now up to the governments involved in the negotiations to make political decisions.

Some diplomats expressed concern that Iran's election of Ebrahim  Raisi as president could complicate a possible return to the nuclear agreement.

"We are closer to a deal, but we are not still there," Enrique Mora, deputy secretary-general and political director of the European External Action Service, told reporters.

"We have made progress on a number of technical issues. We have now more clarity on technical documents, all of them quite complex. And that clarity allows us to have also a clear idea of what the political problems are," Mora said, adding that they are "closer (to a deal) than one week ago."

Meanwhile, all participants will travel back to their capitals for consultations. Mora said that he hopes that in the next round, delegations will come back "with clearer instructions, clearer ideas on how to finally close the deal." The EU diplomat also noted that this round of talks has taken place "against important political developments," citing the recent meeting of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and the US officials in the EU-US summit and Borrell's meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.


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