Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: EU, Russia Expect Iran Atomic Deal as Beijing Holds Talks

The top diplomats from the European Union and Kremlin said they expect world powers will salvage the landmark accord limiting Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief as the latest round of talks grinds on. The comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov came as his Iranian counterpart met officials in China, which has hosted a series of meetings this week with top Middle East envoys to discuss regional security and economic cooperation. The eighth round of negotiations to reboot the 2015 nuclear accord — scuttled almost four years ago by the Trump administration — is concluding its third week in Vienna. Sides will break for two days for consultations, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported. “There’s real progress,” Lavrov told reporters on Friday in Moscow. “We are expecting an agreement to be reached.” The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell similarly said a deal is in sight on Friday during a press conference in France. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/eu-russia-expect-iran-atomic-170529148.html) Russia’s optimism followed words of caution by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, when he told National Public Radio in an interview that just weeks remain for sides to reach an accord. U.S. officials have suggested Iran’s rapidly expanding uranium-enrichment program could soon render the accord obsolete.

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