Agreement With Iran Close but Won't Be Reached Tonight, Says Corker

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U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) talks to reporters after the weekly Republican caucus policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol Capitol in Washington May 12, 2015.Credit: Reuters

An agreement with Iran is close, but won't be reached on Thursday night, Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, has said.

Speaking to CNN on Thursday, Corker said that a lot of progress has made in the nuclear talks, but that unresolved issues still remain and that an agreement will not be announced on Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is heading the Kremlin's negotiating team to nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna, told the Interfax news agency that "if there was political will" a comprehensive deal was possible "within hours."

Ryabkov made his remarks on the heel of a phone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The conversation apparently dealt with the central points of contention between Russia and China and the rest of the powers. Russia and China are demanding that the international weapons embargo on Iran be lifted as part of the nuclear deal. Russia and China are two of Iran's main weapons suppliers.

Kerry also spoke with his Chinese counterpart by telephone, who like Lavrov, is not present at the talks. Despite Ryabkov's optimistic remarks, an Iranian diplomat told the Iranian television network Press TV that he did not except an agreement to be reached.

The intensive talks in Vienna were continuing Thursday, two days after another deadline for a deal was missed. According to reports in the Iranian media, the sides have closed many of their gaps and put together most of the draft agreement. Western diplomats said, however, that gaps remain on technical issues as well as matters which require decisions made by the political echelons.

The next deadline set for the talks is midnight, as the sides are hoping to reach an agreement by July 10, at which point a congressional clause will go into effect according to which American lawmakers will have 60 days to dissect the agreement, rather than 30.

The Kremlin said that Putin hopes for swift compromise on Iran's nuclear program.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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