February 6, 2023

Top negotiators in renewed talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal indicated Sunday that they are optimistic about the possibility of a deal imposing limits on Tehran’s uranium enrichment.

“We are standing 5 minutes or 5 seconds from the finish line,” Russian Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov told reporters outside the Coburg Palace in Vienna after four days of talks. He said there were “3 or 4 issues” that had not been resolved.

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

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

“We are making progress and I expect to finish negotiations soon,” he told Iranian media.

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

Since the deal’s actual collapse, Iran has been operating advanced centrifuges and rapidly growing its stockpile of enriched uranium.

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

Then US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the agreement in 2018, saying he would negotiate a stronger deal, but that did not happen. Iran began violating the terms of the agreement a year later.

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