Comments on Final Days of Nuclear Talks

June 26, 2015

Updated as of July 13

In late June, negotiators from Iran and the world's six major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States - resumed nuclear talks with only days remaining before the June 30 deadline for a deal. Talks were extended to July 7, and then again to July 10. The following are excerpted remarks from officials during the final round of talks.

 

United States 
 
President Barack Obama
 
"With respect to the larger issue of whether I trust the Iranian regime, as I've said before, there are deep-seated disagreements and divisions between the United States and Iran, and those aren't going to go away overnight.  The goal of the nuclear negotiations is not to rely on trust, but to set up a verifiable mechanism where we are cutting off the pathways for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
 
"And John Kerry, right now, is there, along with Secretary of Energy Moniz, who’s one of the top nuclear physicists in the world.  They are deeply engaged in negotiations.  My hope is that they can achieve an agreement, but my instructions to them have been extremely clear:  The framework agreement that was established at Lausanne is one that, if implemented effectively and codified properly, would, in fact, achieve my goal, which is Iran not obtaining a nuclear weapon. 
 
"There has been a lot of talk on the other side from the Iranian negotiators about whether, in fact, they can abide by some of the terms that came up in Lausanne.  If they cannot, that’s going to be a problem -- because I’ve said from the start I will walk away from the negotiations if, in fact, it’s a bad deal.  If we can’t provide assurances that the pathways for Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are closed, and if we can’t verify that, if the inspections regime -- the verification regime is inadequate, then we’re not going to get a deal.  And we’ve been very clear to the Iranian government about that.
 
"And the good news is, is that our P5+1 partners in these negotiations feel exactly the same way.  So there are still some hard negotiations to take place, but ultimately this is going to be up to the Iranians to determine whether or not they meet the requirements that the international community has set forth to be able to fairly and accurately and consistently assess whether or not they have foreclosed the possibility of obtaining a nuclear weapon.  And given past behavior on the part of Iran, that can’t simply be a declaration by Iran and a few inspectors wandering around every once in a while; that’s going to have to be a serious, rigorous verification mechanism.  And that, I think, is going to be the test as to whether we get a deal or not."
—June 30, 2015 in a press conference with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

 

Secretary of State John Kerry 
 
"We are not going to be guided by or conditioned by or affected or deterred by some tweet that is for public consumption or domestic political consumption. What matters to us is what is agreed upon within the four corners of a document and that is what is yet to be determined." 
 
"It may be that the Iranians will not fill out the full measure of what was agreed at Lausanne and, in that case, there will not be an agreement." 
—June 24, 2015, according to the press 
 
"We are not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another." 
—June 23, 2015, according to the press 
 
QUESTION:  Are you hopeful on Iran?  Are you hopeful on Iran, Secretary? 
 
SECRETARY KERRY:  I’m always hopeful.  Yes, I’m hopeful.  I’m not declaring optimism.  I am hopeful. 
—June 25, 2015, in a press briefing
 
"We have a lot of hard work to do.  We have some very tough issues, and I think we all look forward to getting down to the final effort here to see whether or not a deal is possible.  I think that everybody would like to see an agreement, but we have to work through some difficult issues."
— June 27, 2015, according to the press
 
"We are working very, very hard and we have some very difficult issues."
 
"But we believe we're making progress and we're going to continue to work because of that."
—July 1, 2015, according to the press
 
"We are making progress."
July 3, 2015, in a statement broadcast on Youtube
 
"I think it’s fair to say that both sides are working extremely hard with great sense of purpose in a good-faith effort to make progress, and we are making progress."
 
"So we have a lot of work to do, we’ve got some tough issues, but there’s a genuine effort by everybody to be serious about this and to understand the time constraints that we’re working under. So we will continue to work – tonight, tomorrow, Sunday – and we certainly both want to try to see if we can arrive at a conclusion."
July 3, 2015, in a press briefing
 
"If hard choices get made in the next couple of days, made quickly, we could get an agreement this week, but if they are not made we will not.”
July 5, 2015, according to the press
 
“This evening, my foreign minister colleagues are returning here to Vienna. And it is now time – there we go – it’s now time to see whether or not we are able to close an agreement. In many ways, this negotiation has been going on for literally a number of years. And over the past few days, we have in fact made genuine progress. But I want to be absolutely clear with everybody: We are not yet where we need to be on several of the most difficult issues. And the truth is that while I completely agree with Foreign Minister Zarif that we have never been closer, at this point, this negotiation could go either way. If hard choices get made in the next couple of days and made quickly, we could get an agreement this week. But if they are not made, we will not.
 
So our teams remain very hard at work. In the coming hours and days we’re going to go as hard as we can. We are not going to be negotiating in the press. We’ll be negotiating privately and quietly. And when the time is right, we will all have more to say.
 
QUESTION: Can you get a deal by the 7th, or is the real deadline the 9th?
 
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, right now we’re aiming to try to finish this in the timeframe that we’ve set out. That’s our goal and we’re going to put every bit of pressure possible on it to try to do so.
 
QUESTION: Would you walk away from it if (inaudible)?
 
SECRETARY KERRY: If we don’t get a deal, if we don’t have a deal, if there’s absolute intransigence, if there’s an unwillingness to move on the things that are important, President Obama has always said we’ll be prepared to walk away. It’s not what anybody wants. We want to get an agreement.
 
But I’ve said from the moment I became involved in this we want a good agreement, only a good agreement, and we’re not going to shave anywhere at the margins in order just to get an agreement. This is something that the world will analyze, experts everywhere will look at. There are plenty of people in the nonproliferation community, nuclear experts, who will look at this. And none of us are going to be content to do something that can’t pass scrutiny. Most importantly, President Obama has made it clear we have to close off the four pathways to the potential of a bomb. Our Iranian counterparts have been working hard. They’ve put in a lot of time. Everybody is negotiating hard. That’s what makes this difficult.
 
But our hope is that we get an agreement that is fair, that gets the job done, and we can hold our heads high and show the world that countries can come together and make things happen. But we’re not there yet. I emphasize that. We have difficult issues still to resolve.
 
QUESTION: What’s your deadline? The 7th or the 9th? (Inaudible.)
 
SECRETARY KERRY: We’re currently pushing, as we’ve all said, for the 7th. That’s the deadline. Thank you all very much.”
July 5, 2015, according to the press
 
 
SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, good evening, everybody, and let me start by thanking all of you for your remarkable patience.  I know – in fact, all of us involved in this know – that this has been a very difficult couple of weeks for the many journalists who are here in Vienna with us.  But let me assure you we would not be here continuing to negotiate just for the sake of negotiating.  We’re here because we believe we are making real progress toward a comprehensive deal.  But as I have said many times and as I discussed with President Obama last night, we are not going to sit at the negotiating table forever. 
 
We also recognize that we shouldn’t get up and leave simply because the clock strikes midnight.  And I emphasize, given that the work here is incredibly technical and that the stakes are very, very high, we will not rush and we will not be rushed, and we won’t let ourselves be rushed through any aspect of this.  All that we are focused on is the quality of the agreement, and that is what will continue to define our work. 
 
If, in the end, we are able to reach a deal, it has to be one that can withstand the test of time.  It is not a test of a matter of days or weeks or months.  It’s a test for decades.  That’s our goal here.  And the simple fact is that despite all of the progress that we have made – and it’s real – some of the tough issues remain unresolved.  We know that difficult decisions don’t become easier over time, and one way or the other those decisions must be taken very soon. 
 
That is precisely why all of our delegations remain hard at work here in Vienna, and it’s why a number of my counterparts returned last night and are here now so that we can continue to push through on the tough issues and ultimately see whether or not the good deal that we have been working for so hard is possible to achieve.  That’s what we’re working on and that’s what we’ll continue to work on.
 
Thank you all very much.
 
QUESTION:  And how long are you willing to stay, Mr. Secretary?
 
SECRETARY KERRY:  I’ve just said this is not open-ended.  President Obama made it very clear to me last night we can’t wait forever for the decisions to be made.  We know that.  If the tough decisions don’t get made, we are absolutely prepared to call an end to this process.
—July 9, 2015, according to the press
 
 
“We’ve had meetings since early this morning.  We have a couple of different lines of discussion that are going on right now, but I think it’s safe to say that we have made progress today.  The atmosphere is very constructive.  We still have a couple of very difficult issues, and we’ll be sitting down to discuss those in the very near term – this evening and into tomorrow.  But I think we have resolved some of the things that were outstanding and we’ve made some progress.”
—July 10, 2015, according to the press
 
"I think we're getting to some real decisions. So I will say, because we have a few tough things to do, I remain hopeful. Hopeful."
—July 12, 2015, according to the press
 
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
 
“The supreme leader has chosen to make more and more public pronouncements and declare red lines that would preclude a deal, frankly.”
 
“We’ll see if this is trying to strengthen the hand of the negotiating team or whether these are viewed as really hard positions. Because if they are, I don’t see how a deal could happen with all the things that he’s now saying are required.”
—June 29, 2015, according to the press
 
 
State Department Spokesperson John Kirby 
 
Kerry's comments on possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program do not indicate "any kind of concession or change in the policy. It's just simply not true." 
 
"The sanctions lifting will only occur as Iran takes the steps agreed, including addressing possible military dimensions." 
 
"We've said we're not looking for a confession (from Iran); we've already made judgments about the past." 
—June 24, 2015, according to the press
 
“I think Secretary Kerry was very clear yesterday that they're going to keep working very, very hard here, certainly this week…And if hard choices get made, if they can meet agreement on some of these key issues, we could have an agreement this week. But there's no guarantee of that.”
—July 6, 2015, according to the press
 
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest
 
“If the Iranians refuse to agree to a final agreement that is consistent with the framework that was reached in April, then there won’t be an agreement.”
—June 29, 2015, according to the press

Iran
 
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

 

 

Click here for more information on Khamenei's "red lines" outlined in his June 23 speech 

"Fighting global arrogance is the core of our revolution and we cannot put it on hold. Get ready to continue your fight against the global arrogance. The U.S. is the true embodiment of the global arrogance."
—July 11, 2015, in a speech to university students in Tehran
 
 
President Hassan Rouhani 
 
 
“The government’s approach in foreign policy has been constructive interaction with the world, while respecting this red line: ‘Preserving independence, honor and national pride’, and on cultural issues, giving more space to all those active in the fields of culture and arts with respect for moral red lines and Islamic teachings." 
 
 “What brought powerful countries to the negotiating table was the resistance of the Iranian nation to pressures by ill-wishers and the failure of the sanctions.”  
 
 “Under the conditions of sanctions, we managed to curb the inflation with people’s help and get out of stagnation. It was again under the same conditions of sanctions when investment grew.”  
 
“If the opposite party [in the nuclear talks] does not make excessive demands, an agreement would be within reach and we will cross this historic bottleneck.” 
—June 23, 2015, according to leader.ir 
 
“If the other side breaches the deal, we will go back to the old path, stronger than what they can imagine.”
—June 30, 2015 according to IRNA via Reuters
 
“If a [final] nuclear agreement is reached, we will be committed to implementing it. However, it is clear that the opposite side should also remain committed to its obligations.”
 
In case of the six countries’ violation of a final nuclear deal, he said, his administration “will be fully ready to immediately return to the previous path even more vigorously than they could imagine.”
 
“Nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1 can bear fruit within the next couple of days past the [June 30] deadline."
 
“If they claim that they want to prevent the development of nuclear weapons in Iran, they should know that Iran has never sought to build nuclear weapons.” 
—June 30, 2015, according to the press
 
“I am proud of the brave sons of the country in nuclear talks who will continue to defend our nation’s rights until the end.”
—July 7, 2015, according to the press
 
"Iran is preparing itself for after the negotiations and after sanctions, in which our relations with other countries ... will expand."
—July 8, 2015, according to the press
 
"We behaved so skillfully that if talks won't succeed, the world would accept that Iran is for logic and dialogue and never left the negotiating table ... and if we succeed by the grace of God, the world will know that the Iranian nation can resolve its problems through logic.”
 
"In the foreign policy, we have acted so skillfully that if the negotiations failed, the world would accept that Iran has been in favor of reason and dialog, has never left the negotiating table, and has given response to ambiguities in the best way.”
—July 11, 2015, in a speech to local Iran culture and arts figures
 
“Twenty-two months of negotiation means we have managed to charm the world, and it’s an art.”
—July 11, 2015, according to the press
 
“The country, people, and the negotiating team have carried out their responsibilities toward the talks.”
 
“Currently, we are very close to the peak (of the nuclear talks) but there are still steps left to reach this peak. With the help of God, Iranian negotiators will emerge victorious from this difficult and complicated battle.”
—July 12, 2015, in a speech to women’s rights activists in Tehran
 
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
 
 
"All negotiating sides should avoid excessive demands and allegations outside international frameworks to pave the way for achieving an agreement." 
 
"There are still some differences (remaining between the two sides); some of them are technical and some are political, anyhow we are trying to accomplish the work soon." 
 
"During my meetings with EU foreign policy chief (Federica Mogherini) and foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain, we will discuss the latest conditions of the nuclear talks and ways to strike a final agreement as well as the need for joint action to make this possible in future." 
—June 22, 2015, according to the press 
 
“The US will have lost a major opportunity, probably unique. But, for us, our population is accustomed to making necessary sacrifices to preserve its dignity and its rights." 
 
“It’s not about nationalism or chauvinism. It’s simply about having historical depth. Several years are a brief period in the history of a country with millennia as its depth." 
 
If the diplomacy fails, “It won’t be the end of the world.” 
—June 23, 2015, in an interview with The New Yorker 
 
“We need to work really hard in order to be able to make progress and move forward.  We’re determined to do everything we can in order to be able to make this important milestone, but that depends on a lot of things and we’re going to work on them.”
— June 27, 2015, according to the press
 
"We have come to Vienna to reach an agreement which fully respects the Iranian nation's interests and rights and will be a good agreement for the entire world.”
 
"We are sure that if the other side accepts to recognize the Iranian people's rights and acts upon its undertakings, that is to say it removes the sanctions against Iran and fulfills its part of the undertakings concurrent with Iran's measures and avoid raising excessive demands, we will certainly reach an agreement which will be beneficial to everyone.”
 
"Only reaching a good agreement and proper results is important."
 
"We go to Vienna to achieve a lasting and fair deal.”
 
"As the Supreme Leader has reiterated the Iranians are seeking an honorable agreement and they will not tolerate excessive demands."
—June 28, 2015, according to the press

 "The negotiations are moving forward and we should be hopeful".
—July 2, 2015, according to the press
 
"We are ready to strike a balanced and good deal and open new horizons to address important common challenges," he said in a statement broadcast on Youtube, referring to the rise of Islamist militancy. "We have never been closer to a lasting outcome."
July 3, 2015, in a statement broadcast on Youtube
 
“We’re all trying very hard in order to be able to move forward, and we have made some progress. There are still tough issues to discuss and to resolve, but I think with political will, we will.”
July 3, 2015, in a press briefing

 

"Still nothing is clear. ... Some differences remain and we are trying and working hard.”
July 6, 2015, according to the press
 
 
 
Asked whether he was optimistic of the accord: “Had we not been, we would not have been here.”
—July 9, 2015, according to the press
 
"Some progress has been made but we are not there yet...I doubt it will happen today...it seems that we are going to spend the weekend in Vienna.”
—July 10, 2015, according to the press

"We have reached a stage now that the other side should decide if it is seeking an agreement or pressure; we have said many times that agreement and pressure cannot come together and one of them should be chosen.”
 
"We are doing our best as Supreme Leader (of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei) and other Iranian officials have said many times we are looking for a good deal and we will continue the negotiations; we have never left the negotiations and we will not in future."
—July 10, 2015, according to the press
 
"We believe that nuclear talks between Iran and the six major world powers should not be extended anymore, but we can carry on work as long as it is needed.”
—July 13, 2015, during a meeting with Wang Yi
 
 
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi
 
"We have repeatedly said that Iran's peaceful nuclear program is for technological purposes and their application will be according to international standards which may resolve their concerns."
 
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has set its own boundaries for nuclear talks, which lets no opportunity cross the redlines.”
— June 29, 2015, according to the press
 
"Hopefully today is the last day.”
— July 9, 2015, according to the press
 
"There is a high chance for agreement in the Austrian capital.”
—July 10, 2015, according to the press
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi  
 
"Iran wants to be exonerated from the PMD case and it should be become clear that the PMD cases have been false and during the negotiations, we pressure the opposite side and insist that the fate of this case should come under light within the framework of the agreement." 
—June 17, 2015, according to the press 
 
"Differences of opinion on the text of a comprehensive agreement have been reduced to some extent, but not as much progress has been made as we expected." 
 
“The text of the deal is a complicated one, which has different technical, legal and, above all, political dimensions. The text must undergo full reviews, first at the level of experts and later at the level of deputy foreign ministers." 
—June 21, 2015, according to the press 
 
"In certain topics, they also have different stances which may not be harmonized easily."
"Some progress has been made in main contexts compared to annexes."

"We have decided to reach an agreement within the deadline. We will keep up the job for several days to clinch a deal at last."
—June 26, 2015, according to the press
 
 
 
"For us, reaching a good agreement –with the defined criteria- is important, not the notion that it (the talks) must end at a definite time.”
—July 1, 2015, according to the press
 
"All delegations and Iran are working on the texts seriously, all sides are serious, a positive atmosphere is ruling the negotiations and the spirit for going forward exists in all delegations but this doesn’t mean that all delegations, including us, are ready to reach an agreement at any price"
—July 1, 2015, according to the press
 
"We are now at a highly sensitive stage and we are trying to narrow down the gap and reach an agreement if possible.”
 
Iran "wants all sanctions removed. The US cannot keep the sanctions structure and reach a deal with Iran.”
 
"The West should give up the sanctions regime completely if it is willing to strike a deal with Iran.”
 
"But there are still differences over other sanctions, including the arms embargoes against Iran."
 
"The arms embargoes themselves are not so much important to Iran, but the point is that no sanctions should be kept if there is to be a deal with Iran.”
 
“Seven to 10 issues of difference between Iran and the G5+1…only two or three of them are fundamental and important.”
 
"The rest are minor technical issues.”
 
"The main text of the draft deal is almost complete…There are only a few more paragraphs in the main text that have been left open and need political decision-making by the ministers."
 
“The sanctions annex is 96 percent complete, with two to three small issues left undecided.”
 
"We are ready to continue the talks as long as needed."
 
"Deadlines are no sacred sanctuary…Others (the US) might have specified a deadline for themselves, but we are ready to stay here as long as it takes."
 
"A good agreement is the only thing that matters to us.”
—July 7, 2015, according to the press
 
"The negotiations have reached the last breathtaking moments and there are still certain problems. We cannot say that we have reached an agreement while the problems are still in place.”
 
"Yet, I cannot promise that the problems will be resolved tonight or tomorrow night.”
—July 12, 2015, according to the press
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi
 
"On both general topics, nuclear and sanctions, there are still technical problems that need to be solved. And to be frank, there are also political decisions that need to be made."
 
"I should emphasize here is that in Lausanne we went into a lot of detail on the nuclear side. We also discussed sanctions, but compared to what we achieved on the nuclear issue, we didn't get as far."
 
We have included in the text voluntary implementation of the [additional protocol]. This will be until a later stage, where it should be ratified by the Iranian parliament. This means it will become part of Iran's national laws. So, if we reach an agreement, Iran will abide by the [additional protocol], which also entails managed access.
 
"I don't think there will be any problem in the future on the implementation of the [additional protocol]. You know, this is about exceptional cases, not just any case. Of course, this makes people nervous. I can't imagine the United States for instance allowing this. It's not just Iran being sensitive; no country will just open up its [military] facilities. And Iran is not an exception. We've tried to make the agency's job easier, given daily access to inspectors."
—June 30, 2015, according to the press
 
"Most of the issues in the experts meetings have ended, while talks among the deputies continue and there will possibly remain one or two issues that will need miniterial decisions.”
 
"The foreign ministers will leave Vienna after today meetings."
—July 2, 2015, according to the press
 
Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani
 
 
 
"The sustainability and decency of any agreement depends on satisfaction of both sides of the negotiations."
—July 2, 2015, according to the press
 
“A win-win agreement in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group is reachable if the opposite side steers clear of the policy of imposition and excessive demands.”
—July 7, 2015, according to the pres
 
"The fact is that the other side lacks political might, meaning that what they mention at the negotiating table differs from (their remarks in) the media and television."
 
"Another aspect of the other side's lack of political might at the negotiating table is that it is unable to carry out what it says inside American society.”
 
“[The P5+1] lacks consistency and consensus.”
—July 10, 2015, according to the press
 
Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani  
 
"The nuclear negotiating team should be supported, and meantime, move within the framework of the Islamic Republic's redlines." 
—June 24, 2015, according to the press 
 
Director of the Management and Planning Organization Mohammad Bagher Nobakht 
 
“If the good deal that is sought by the Islamic Republic is not struck and there remain obscurities that could be settled with the extension of talks, we will naturally agree to the extension [of the talks]." 
—June 25, 2015, according to the press 
 
Vice President and Head of the Department of Environment Masoumeh Ebtekar  
 
"Reaching a fair and balanced agreement which can guarantee all our legitimate nuclear rights is expected." 
—June 23, 2015, in a meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg 
 
President’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Nahavandian
 
“Although the nuclear negotiations have not ended, it is sufficient reason that we should be optimistic about the future of talks because the negotiating sides have resorted to logic and joint objectives instead of imposing their one-sided stances.”
—June 30, 2015, according to the press
 
European Union

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini
 
"I would say that the political will is there. I've seen it from all sides. So we have tasked our negotiating teams to start working immediately tonight on the text [of the final deal].”
Negotiators are drafting the text of the final accord and will “try and close all the issues in order to translate the political understanding that we found in [the Swiss city of] Lausanne into texts that are solid enough for the coming days.”
 
“If we need to have a couple of additional days more, it's not the end of the world. But it is very clear that the deadline is going to stay end of June / beginning of July.”
 
“So no extension. We all agreed on that.”
 
“We don't have new points open on the agenda. We are not renegotiating things.”
— June 28, 2015, according to the press
 
“Amano’s trip to Tehran is very important.”
 
“We are moving forward. We are not there yet but we are moving forward. It's going rather well."
 
"Today we will have the chance of checking some political issues that are still open.”
—July 2, 2015, according to the press
 
 
"We are continuing to negotiate for the next couple of days. This does not mean we are extending our deadline.”
—July 7, 2015, according to the press
 
“We are very close, but if the important, historical political decisions are not made in the next hours we won’t have an agreement.”
—July 9, 2015, according to the press
 
 
France 
 
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius 
 
France wants a deal but wants the deal to be robust, a good deal, but not a bad dealA certain number of statements do not seem to go in that direction. France reaffirms that it wants a solid accord, but at the same time must stress the firmness of its positions. 
—June 24, 2015 in a press conference with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir via Reuters 
 
 
"What we want is a robust deal that recognizes Iran's right to civil nuclear power, but guarantees that Iran gives up definitively the nuclear weapon."
 
"For this there are three indispensable conditions: a lasting limitation of Iran's research and development capacity, a rigorous inspection of sites, including military if needed, and the third condition is the automatic return of sanctions in case it violates its commitments."
— June 27, 2015, according to the press
 
“I have come as arranged to discuss the points in the negotiations. I am going to meet different colleagues during the afternoon.”
 
“There are points in which we have made progress, in other ones not yet. I am going to work for, I hope, making this negotiation progress.”
—July 2, 2015, according to the press
 
"All the cards are on the table.”
 
"These negotiations began 12 years ago, and now we are 72 hours away from the moment when they should conclude.”
 
"The main question is to know whether the Iranians will accept making clear commitments on what until now has not been clarified.”
July 5, 2015, according to the press
 
“The last hundred metres of a marathon are the hardest.”
 
“There are difficult points that remain, but things are all the same going in the right direction.”
 
“Due to these conditions, I have decided to stay and work tonight and tomorrow morning. I hope we will be able to complete the metres that need to be run. There are good things, but there are difficult things that still need to be worked on.”
—July 9, 2015, according to the press
 
“I hope we are finally entering the final phase of these marathon negotiations. I believe it.”
—July 12, 2015, according to the press
 
"Now that everything is on the table, the moment has come to decide."
—July 12, 2015, according to the press
 
Russia 
 
President Vladimir Putin
 
"A compromise should be found…In my opinion, it will be found soon.”
 
"Not only Iran and talks participants but all of the countries in the region including Arab countries and Israel are interested in this.”
 
"We proceed from the fact that all sanctions against Iran should be lifted…as soon as possible."
 
"We believe this is not the way to solve international problems.”
 
"We proceed from the fact that instruments such as sanctions should be completely removed from the international economic lexicon and communication.”
 
"They should not be used in world economy because they turn it upside down."
—July 10, 2015, according to the press
 
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
 
 
"We are calling for lifting the embargo as soon as possible and we will support the choices that Iran's negotiators make."
—July 9, 2015, at a summit of the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa
 
"On the basis of the principles of gradualism and reciprocity, we have come close to a final agreement, it is within the bounds of the attainable.”
—July 9, 2015, according to the press
 
 
“[The arms embargo] should be among the first steps taken in lifting the sanctions regime…Especially as Iran is a supporter of the fight against Islamic State.”
—July 9, 2015, according to the press
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov 
 
Some complex issues remain but there are fewer of them than a week ago. 
The number of issues left to be resolved “can be counted on one hand.” 
—June 19, 2015 to RIA-Novosti via AFP
 
“We are working together with colleagues from P5+1 group on proposals made by Iran on Tuesday. This work is hard and time-consuming. We did not meet the July 7 deadline. Those are right who say that talks are like ascending Mount Everest.”
—July 9, 2015, according to the press
 
Germany 
 
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier  
 
"In my view [an agreement] is possible, but it requires that Iran continue talks constructively and not to pursue a different path." 
 
"It is important to end this 10-year crisis." 
—June 22, 2015, according to the press
 
"I am confident that all sides represented in Vienna intend to reach agreement."
—July 2, 2015, according to the press
 
"I hope that this courage exists above all ... in Tehran.”
July 5, 2015, according to the press
 
 
 
"Trust has been destroyed on the part of Iran. For this reason, Iran above all has to now offer input to help build up trust.”
 
"This means that we have to have monitoring possibilities available to have an overview as to whether Iran is fulfilling its obligations. We need to be sure that we have transparency concerning the promises Iran is making here."
—July 7, 2015, according to the press
 

United Kingdom
 
Foreign Minister Philip Hammond
 
 
“I don’t think we are at any kind of breakthrough moment yet.”
 
“The work goes on. You’re going to see over the next few days ministers coming and ministers going to maintain the momentum of these discussions.”
—July 2, 2015, according to the press
 
“We’re making progress, it’s painfully slow... there are still some issues that have to be resolved.”
—July 10, 2015, according to the press
 

China
 
Foreign Minister Wang Yi
 
 

"Hopefully a consensus can be reached among the parties. All parties concerned need to work together to uphold the international non-proliferation regime and help deliver a solution to this long-standing nuclear issue.”

“All parties need to make positive efforts.”
 
"We have confidence that finally the parties concerned will arrive at a fair, balanced and just agreement... I think there is high possibility."
—July 2, 2015, according to the press
 
"What is important today and tomorrow (is that) all parties especially, the United States and Iran, should make their final decisions as quickly as possible."
July 6, 2015, according to the press
 
"The foreign ministers are gathered to bring negotiations to a conclusion…We believe there could not be further delay."
—July 13, 2015, according to the press

 

Photo credit: Moniz by Energy.gov via Flickr Commons (public domain as U.S. Government work); Araghchi and Ravanchi via Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs mfa.ir