Closing the Deal: Images from Iran Negotiations and Implementation Day

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to London, U.K., and Vienna, Austria, from January 14–16, 2016, as he worked to resolve final sticking points on the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a July 2015 multilateral agreement ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful.

At the same time, he was deeply involved in parallel negotiations to secure the release of Americans unjustly held in Iran.

After meeting in London with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair about issues in the Middle East, the Secretary flew to Vienna on the morning of January 16 for a final round of talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and others involved in the conversations.

Toting a shopping bag and a copy of his draft remarks, Secretary Kerry walked to his plane at London Stansted Airport. (State Department Photo)

En route to Vienna, Secretary Kerry called Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter about the pending transfer by the Swiss Air Force of U.S. nationals who were being unjustly held in Iran. (State Department Photo)


The first thing Secretary Kerry saw at Vienna International Airport as he emerged from his Air Force jet was an Iran Air jetliner parked across the tarmac. (State Department Photo)

Secretary Kerry drove directly to the Palais Coburg Hotel in Vienna, where the Iranian delegation was staying, and where the two sides held marathon negotiations in July that led to the JCPOA. The Secretary met first with Ambassador Stephen Mull, U.S. Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation, and other advisers from the State and Energy departments and the White House. (State Department Photo)

A half-hour later, Secretary Kerry and his team sat down with Foreign Minister Zarif in the Coburg’s Blue Salon, where the two sides did most of their negotiating last July. (State Department Photo)


Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Mull then called International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano, to discuss the agency’s work in drafting a report examining whether Iran had met the requirements in the JCPOA to qualify for sanctions relief from the international community. (State Department Photo)

Over a late lunch of salad and spaghetti, Secretary Kerry joined State Department Chief of Staff Jon Finer as he participated in a call briefing reporters about the day's developments. (State Department Photo)

Secretary Kerry also chatted with State Department Senior Adviser Marie Harf, who handled communications duties for the Iran talks, during a lull in the meetings. (State Department Photo)

Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Zarif occupied nearby rooms at the Palais Coburg, which meant that on different occasions, each man showed up at the other’s room, seeking an impromptu meeting. This occurred in Zarif’s quarters. (State Department Photo)

As Secretary Kerry returned a phone call, Chief of Staff Finer spoke with State Department Speechwriter Stephanie Epner, who worked through multiple drafts of the Secretary’s final comments as negotiations evolved. (State Department Photo)

As deliberations on final preparations for Implementation Day continued into the evening, Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Zarif walked down one floor for an unscheduled visit with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini. They surprised an EU staffer by knocking on the door and asking to speak to her boss. (State Department Photo)

Later in the evening, Secretary Kerry and Chief of Staff Finer split a pizza between calls. (State Department Photo)

At 8:51 p.m., the talks moved into their decisive phase: Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Zarif spoke in a quiet lobby, before returning to the Secretary’s room for a final huddle with other ministers. (State Department Photo)

At 8:54 p.m., High Representative Mogherini (in person, third from left) and French Foreign Minister Fabius (by phone) joined the meeting in Secretary Kerry’s room to work through final details. (State Department Photo)


Secretary Kerry spoke first, before placing the call on speakerphone so the other two ministers could speak with Foreign Minister Fabius. (State Department Photo)


High Representative Mogherini, representing the European Union, offered a wording suggestion as the ministers read through the final joint statement. Foreign Minister Fabius consented to the revised statement at 9:22 p.m., setting in motion the final implementation of the JCPOA. [State Department Photo]

In return for Iran implementing a series of steps to constrain its nuclear program as outlined in the JCPOA, the United States agreed to lift nuclear-related sanctions. Secretary Kerry had to sign a series of waivers and certificates to provide for this sanction relief. [State Department Photo]

After finalizing the agreement and making good on the promise of sanctions relief, Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Zarif headed to the Vienna International Center, a U.N. complex where the international media awaited, for press statements about the day’s activities. But before they began speaking, the Secretary asked the foreign minister to personally intervene to resolve a miscommunication about whether the wife and mother of detained American Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter, would be allowed to leave Tehran with their husband and son. [State Department Photo]

Secretary Kerry paid a courtesy call on IAEA Director General Amano and his staff while visiting the Vienna International Center, thanking them for the Agency’s work in issuing their JCPOA compliance report, and encouraging them to uphold the strict inspection regime spelled out in the July 2015 agreement. [State Department Photo]

Secretary Kerry walked to the podium to deliver his statement to the international media. [State Department Photo]

Secretary Kerry delivering his statement. [State Department Photo]

Reporters listen as Secretary Kerry delivers his statement. [State Department Photo]

After rushing back the airport to avoid exceeding the allowable workday for his Air Force flight crew, Secretary Kerry placed one more call from his cabin to Foreign Minister Zarif to help resolve the situation related to Rezaian and his family members. [State Department Photo]

Following a nearly 10-hour flight, Secretary Kerry invited his traveling press corps back to his cabin after their plane landed at 3 a.m. at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland. He spent nearly a half-hour reflecting on and answering questions about the prior day’s developments. [State Department Photo]

Editor's Note: All photos were taken by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategic Communications Glen Johnson, Secretary Kerry’s traveling photographer, and are courtesy of the U.S. Department of State. This blog also appears on

For more information:



Maureen V.
Massachusetts, USA
January 19, 2016
Thank you Glen Johnson for the images that "Closed The Deal". They add great visual context to the Iran negotiations.Touching, even seemingly lighthearted. I am not surprised but very happy to see diplomacy at its best with Secretary kerry at the helm. "The work goes on.."
Borislav S.
January 21, 2016
Wonderful article about Secretary Kerrys travel and the achievements of strong American diplomacy.
Secretary Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, and respective advisers sit together before meeting in Austria about implementation of plan controlling Iran’s nuclear program. [State Department Photo]
Posted by Glen Johnson
January 19, 2016


Latest Stories

January 19, 2017

What We Got Right

With a new administration taking office this week, it is natural to assess the inheritance it will receive from the… more