Negotiators optimistic about progress on Iran nuclear deal

VIENNA — Leading negotiators for renewed talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal said on Sunday they were optimistic they could reach an agreement to impose limits on Tehran’s uranium enrichment.

“We are 5 minutes or 5 seconds from the finish line,” Russian Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov told reporters outside Coburg Palace in Vienna, four days after talks began. He said there were “3 or 4 issues” left to resolve.

“They are sensitive, especially for Iranians and Americans,” Ulyanov said. “I can’t guarantee, but the impression is that we are heading in the right direction.”

Enrique Mora, the European Union’s chief negotiator, also said he was “absolutely” optimistic about the progress of the talks so far.

“We are moving forward and I think we will close the negotiations soon,” he told Iranian media.

Negotiators from Iran, the United States and the European Union resumed indirect talks on Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal on Thursday after a months-long stalemate in negotiations.

Since the de facto collapse of the deal, Iran has been using advanced centrifuges and rapidly increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium.

Iran made the nuclear deal in 2015 with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China. The deal saw Iran agree to limit its uranium enrichment under the supervision of UN inspectors in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Then US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the deal in 2018, saying he would negotiate a stronger deal, but that didn’t happen. Iran began breaking the terms of the agreement a year later.

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