U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sit around the table at the Palais Coburg Hotel where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held in Vienna, Austria on Monday.
The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on this past week’s confidential negotiations, said the sanctions annex was completed this week by experts from Iran and the six world powers in the negotiations: the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation.
However, the deal must be approved by diplomats from the five other world powers involved in the talks, who are returning to Vienna on Sunday.
Kerry said he agreed with Zarif’s assessment on Friday that the two sides “have never been closer” to a deal.
Kerry, in remarks to reporters, said “it is now time to see whether or not we are able to close an agreement”.
“To us, it is not a hard issue because it has no ambiguity and we have no concern in this regard”, the source said, adding, however, that such baseless claims should not remain unresolved.
The agency is still trying to get Iran to hand over additional documents and information that would shed light on the past military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, which the country has insisted has always been peaceful. After that, lawmakers would get up to 60 days to review the agreement and vote on whether to lift sanctions imposed by Congress.
On Saturday, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, said she hopes that “a strong, verifiable deal will put the lid on Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions”.
“My message today is that, if the deal can be closed, it’s now”.
The powers need Iran to grant extra entry to the IAEA and to reply its questions on earlier nuclear work which will have had army functions.
U.S. President Barack Obama warned Iran on Tuesday that there would be no nuclear deal if Tehran does not agree to “serious, rigorous” inspections of its facilities.
His German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that the “contours of an agreement have been sharpened” but that the “last steps are the most hard”.
Amano said after returning from Tehran that some progress had been made but that “more work” was needed, and that the IAEA aimed to finalise a report on the probe by the end of the year.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a strident critic of the talks, said a recent video released by Iran’s foreign minister was “smug” and showed that Iran had gained an upper hand in the talks. “I urged him to please take their time, try to make sure these last remaining red lines that haven’t been crossed – they have crossed so many – do not get crossed, and, qualitatively, they don’t make it worse than where it already is”.
“Over the past few days we have in fact made genuine progress”, he said.
While talks continue in Vienna, Iranian media reported that a high-level delegation from the United Nations nuclear agency would meet senior Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday night.