After weeks of doubts and mutual accusations of bad-faith negotiations, a newfound optimism is emanating from the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna. Notably, the US and France, which had sounded an increasingly dire tone as talks dragged on, are now decidedly more sanguine in their public statements.

Last Thursday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the US was seeing “modest progress.”

“I remain convinced we can reach a deal. Bits of progress have been made in the last few days,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French media the next day. “We have been heading in a positive direction in the last few days, but time is of the essence.”

Even Israeli officials are increasingly convinced a deal is on the way. On January 3, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told journalists that Israeli officials now believe an agreement will be reached.

Other indications are pointing in the same direction. South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun visited Vienna last week to discuss with Tehran’s negotiators $7 billion in Iranian assets frozen in the country, which cannot be released without US approval. READ MORE

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