German Foreign Minister confident deal with Iran can be reached

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says he is confident reaching a deal to save 2015 nuclear deal is possible within weeks.

Elad Benari ,

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday he was confident of reaching a deal to save the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran "in the coming weeks", AFP reported.

"We think (the talks) can reach their goal," he was quoted as telling reporters in Madrid after a gathering of the Stockholm Initiative, a group of 16 states working towards nuclear disarmament.

"I think we'll get there in the coming weeks," Maas added of the Iran talks that resumed in April in Vienna.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement, but has been holding indirect talks with the US on a return to the agreement.

Iran has insisted on a removal of all sanctions imposed on it, while the Biden administration has insisted that some will remain if they were imposed over other concerns, including human rights and Iran's support for extremist movements.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that time was running out to return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

"There will come a point, yes, where it will be very hard to return back to the standards set by the JCPOA," Blinken told reporters, using the formal name of the accord.

"We haven't reached that point -- I can't put a date on it -- but it's something that we're conscious of," he added.

Blinken warned that if Iran "continues to spin ever more sophisticated centrifuges" and steps up uranium enrichment, it will bring nearer the "breakout" time at which it will be dangerously close to the ability to develop a nuclear bomb.

At the same time, he said that President Joe Biden still supported a return to the accord.