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Iran nuclear deal ‘beginning to take form’

An agreement to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is beginning to take shape after six weeks of talks, European diplomats say.

“Both on the nuclear side and on the sanctions side, we are now beginning to see the contours of what the final deal could look like,” senior diplomats said after the latest round of talks.

The negotiators from the UK, France and Germany – sometimes referred to as the E3 – have been meeting in working groups in the Austrian capital since early April, aiming to revive the 2015 nuclear deal which was crafted to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The nuclear accord has been hanging by a thread since 2018 when then-US president Donald Trump pulled the US out and Iran began to increasingly violate its terms.

“However, success is not guaranteed. There are still some very difficult issues ahead. We do not underestimate the challenges that lay before us,” the diplomats said.

Negotiations are under way on which sanctions the US would be prepared to lift and what steps Iran would be willing to take in return to curb its nuclear program.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said the structure of the agreement had been achieved.

“The content is almost clear although not yet finalised,” he said.

He noted there were still some differences on some key issues where no agreement had yet been reached.

“We hope next week the delegations will come with clear decisions to make the agreement final,” Araghchi said.

The Europeans have called on Iran to extend its inspection agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before it expires at the end of this week, saying the IAEA must have access to the country’s nuclear facilities if the deal is to be saved.

An agreement in the nuclear dispute cannot be implemented otherwise, they said.

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