EU representative: Iran and major powers “making progress” in Vienna talks

Iran and six major powers “made progress” in consultations in Vienna on resuming the Iran nuclear deal, and the EU envoy said the talks were “close” to a deal, although U.S. National Security Adviser Sullivan said negotiations between Iran and the major powers to resume the Iran nuclear deal “there is still disagreement.”

To resume the Iranian nuclear deal reached in 2015, Iran and Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia have been meeting in Vienna since April under the auspices of the European Union, with the U.S. participating in an indirect manner, AFP news agency said. Sunday’s formal meeting in Vienna coincides with the election of Iran’s ultra-hardline figure Leahy as Iran’s president.

“We are close to an agreement, but it is not yet complete,” EU envoy Mora told the media on Sunday. He said negotiators in each country will bring “clearer information and ideas” from their respective countries to reach an agreement in the next round of talks and will have a clearer idea of how to reach a deal. Mora did not specify a date for the next round of talks, saying the clear sticking point still revolves around how to achieve a balance between “the removal of U.S. sanctions on Iran” and “the cessation of Iran’s nuclear activities.

Mora said he expected the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Iranian government to reach a consensus to extend an agreement to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities that will expire on the 24th.

However, U.S. National Security Adviser Sullivan said Sunday that “disagreements remain” between Iran and the major powers to resume negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal. Sullivan reiterated that the final decision rests with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

In an interview with ABC News, Sullivan said, “There is still a considerable distance to go to reach consensus on some key issues, such as sanctions and the nuclear commitments that Iran must make.”

Sullivan also said discussions are still underway about which sanctions against Iran are to be lifted.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Araqchi said Sunday, “We have never been closer to a deal than we are now, but we are still some distance away from a deal and it will not be easy to cross it.”