Robert Malley, the United States’ Special Envoy for Iran, said on Sunday that he was not confident that a nuclear deal between world powers and the Islamic Republic was imminent, dampening expectations after 11 months of stalled talks in Vienna.
Failure to restore a 2015 agreement, which would curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions that have hammered Iran’s economy, risks raising political tensions in the Middle East and driving up global oil prices, according to analysts.
“I’m not convinced it’s imminent… We thought we were pretty close a few months ago, too “Malley stated at the international Doha Forum conference.
“In any negotiations, when there’s issues that remain open for so long, it tells you something about how hard it is to bridge the gap.”
His assessment of the negotiations in Vienna came after Kamal Kharrazi, a senior advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said a deal could come soon.
“Yes, it’s imminent. It depends on the political will of the United States,” Kharrazi told the conference.