EU’s Mogherini: ‘If nuke deal could be closed, it is now’ (The Times of Israel)

Kerry says a deal has never been closer

US Secretary of State John Kerry tells reporters in Vienna that a nuclear deal with Iran “has never been closer” but that gaps remains and that “negotiations could go either way.”

We want “a deal based on some sense of reality,” Kerry says, adding that “we have made genuine progress” and that he agrees with an earlier statement made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that the sides have “never been closer” to finalizing an accord.

“While I agree with Zarif that we have never been closer, these negotiations could go either way,” he says.

“This evening my foreign minister colleagues are returning here to Vienna, and 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 a number of years [but] we are not yet where we need to be on several of the most difficult issues.”

“If hard choices are made, we could get an agreement this week. We’re aiming to [close the agreement] in the time frame we set out [by Tuesday evening],” he adds.

Responding to a question regarding the potential for “a bad deal,” Kerry responds: “If we don’t get a good deal, we will be prepared to walk away. [But] it’s not what anyone wants, we want to get an agreement. But we don’t want any agreement, we want a good agreement, and we’re not going to shave at the margins to just get any agreement.”

“We have to close off [Iran’s] four pathways to the bomb. Our hope is that we get an agreement that is fair and that gets the job done. But we’re not there yet, we have difficult issues still to resolve,” he concludes.