Federica Mogherini, EU’s chief of diplomacy, said on Sunday (5 July) that a nuclear deal with Iran is “very close” after almost two years of talks. She also stressed that “the time is now… We are very close.” After the intense weekend of negotiations between Iran and the global powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States – both sides now feel that the deal will be finalized very soon. Ms Mogherini also noted that the atmosphere was “constructive, positive”, adding “I see the political will … now it is a matter of seeing all together if this political will manages to translate into political decisions.” She concluded then concluded by saying that “now is the time to see if all of this matures into a deal”.
John Kerry, who was chairing the talks on behalf of the United States, said that finalizing a deal is doable within the next couple of days if Teheran makes the “hard choices” needed. If not, Washington would step away from the talks, he warned, and reiterated that the talks were still aiming for the 8 July deadline. Nevertheless, there have been some suggestions that the deadline might extend beyond 8 July.
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, however, said that “some differences remain and we are trying and working hard”. Earlier, on Friday (3 July), he further commented that his country was ready to reach an agreement but he also called for putting an end to “coercion and pressure” at the nuclear negotiations. Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who must approve of all Iranian state matters, refused some crucial demands of the Western powers, asserting that sanctions must be lifted first and only then Teheran would only dismantle its nuclear infrastructure. The U.S. can only remove sanctions after the deal is approved by the Congress.