VIENNA, June 25 (UPI) -- The deal by which Iran's nuclear program is curtailed, in exchange for lifting of economic sanctions, is nearly complete, but obstacles remain, officials said.
Diplomatic leaders of Iran and the negotiating partners -- the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and China -- including U.S. Secretary of State and John Kerry and French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius are arriving in Vienna to finalize the deal by the agreed-upon deadline of June 30.
About six addenda remain to be settled, including how Iran's nuclear facilities will be modified and which trade restrictions will be reduced, and negotiators face outside pressure as well.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has not involved himself in negotiations, said Tuesday an immediate lift of sanctions was necessary when the deal is signed, prior to verification of Iranian compliance by the International Atomic Energy Agency, a United Nations agency. His comments run counter to those of the other negotiating partners, who insist Iran must first implement key elements of the agreement.
Another deadline comes July 10, by which the agreement must be presented to the U.S. Congress for approval, or face a 60-day review. The Obama administration seeks to minimize available time to criticize or demand changes to the deal.
The Iranian population supports a deal, and involved parties are optimistic one will be reached by next week.
"The stakes are too high for Khamenei to risk losing the blame game at this stage," said Ellie Geranmayeh of the European Council on Foreign Relations. "If Iran gets blamed for failure at this stage, it gets nothing, and I think the leadership knows that."