An agreement over Iran's nuclear program could be reached within 48 hours, said a senior participant in the Vienna talks.
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney, who acts as United Nations Security Council facilitator at the talks, stressed “the signals are good” for agreement over the weekend.
There was “no question” that the agreement would lead to renewed oil exports from Iran, reducing upward pressure on energy prices in the West, he added.
Coveney told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “We are getting much closer to signing a deal.
“In fact, some would say that there’s prospects potentially for a deal this weekend.
“Iran has a national holiday that starts on Monday that lasts nearly two weeks and so it may well be the case that the political leaders want to get this issue done in the next 48 hours or so, and that’s certainly our hope.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused “tension and delay” in the Vienna talks because of Moscow’s concern that international sanctions will prevent it from gaining any benefit from the opening up of Iran, said Coveney.
But he added: “That seems to have been resolved in the last few days. We look as if we’re almost there. That’s a good news story when the world needs one and it’s also a reminder that multilateralism can work if there’s patience and determination to get a deal across the line.”
Coveney cautioned that there was “no certainty” of the deal being revived this weekend.
“There certainly is a possibility now. This deal really was almost done two or three weeks ago, and certainly on the EU side, we’ve been happy with the text of the deal for the last two to three weeks,” he said.
“It’s really been about trying to get the remaining parties to the JCPOA across the line,” remarked Coveney.