Mogherini: Nuclear Accord Close

Mogherini: Nuclear Accord Close    Mogherini: Nuclear Accord Close

Diplomats in Vienna are close to clinching a historic deal on Iran's nuclear program, according to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

"We are near to close the deal, it is a good deal," Mogherini told reporters late on Sunday after meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Bloomberg reported.

Mogherini said both sides have shown the "political will" to finish drafting a long-term accord, which would place temporary restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. Foreign ministers from all seven nations involved in the talks will gather again in the Austrian capital once a deal has been drafted, said Mogherini.

Underscoring progress, two diplomats from among the six countries negotiating with Iran (the US, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia) claimed Iran has agreed to wait for sanctions relief until after United Nations inspectors have verified that curbs are implemented. Final details are to be worked out on the International Atomic Energy Agency's investigation into what it calls possible military dimensions of Iran's past nuclear work.

Tehran denies its nuclear program may have any military objectives, saying the work is only for peaceful purposes. Iranian officials have also insisted sanctions must be lifted once the deal takes effect.

Mogherini said neither side was trying to renegotiate points of agreement. "Postponement is not an option," she said, squelching speculation that negotiators might need a pause in the talks.

Mogherini's upbeat comments contrasted with more cautious remarks by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who said Iran needs to show more "flexibility" and that "tough choices will have to be made by all of us."

Privately, US and Russian diplomats said progress had been made, but declined to predict when a deal could be finalized.