Talks to revive Tehran's 2015 nuclear accord with world powers in Vienna ended Monday as the parties closed a final text and key negotiators prepared to consult with their capitals, diplomats said.
After 16 months of torturous on-and-off indirect negotiations to restore the deal, the European Union's foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, suggested there was no more room for negotiation on the draft now on the table.
"What can be negotiated has been negotiated, and it’s now in a final text. However, behind every technical issue and every paragraph lies a political decision that needs to be taken in the capitals," Borrell tweeted.
"If these answers are positive, then we can sign this deal," he added as EU, Iranian and US prepared to leave Vienna.
A US State Department official said that Washington was ready to quickly reach an agreement to revive the deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the basis of the EU proposals.
Iranian officials, however, suggested that they did not regard the EU proposals as final, saying they would convey their "additional views and considerations" to the European Union, which coordinates the talks, after consultations in Tehran.
Iran’s chief negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, will shortly fly back to Tehran for political consultations, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei would have the final say on any deal.
The US, which abandoned the original nuclear deal four years ago under former President Donald Trump, described the tabled draft as “the best and only basis on which to reach a deal.”
“For our part, our position is clear: we stand ready to quickly conclude a deal on the basis of the EU’s proposals,” the State Department said, indicating the deal's restoration was up to Iran.
“They (Iran) repeatedly say they are prepared for a return to mutual implementation,” the spokesperson added. “Let’s see if their actions match their words.”
Iran, for its part, sounded guarded, raising skepticism about the chances for a breakthrough after a monthslong stalemate.
“Naturally the cases require comprehensive study,” IRNA quoted an anonymous senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official as saying. “We will transfer our views and supplementary points.”