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The equatorial vis/IR wide angle viewing system is present in four ITER diagnostic equatorial ports. This instrument will cover a large field of view with high spatial and temporal resolutions, to provide real time temperature measurements of plasma facing components, spectral data in the visible range, information on runaway electrons, and pellet tracking. This diagnostic needs to be reliable, precise, and long lasting. Its design is driven by both the tokamak severe environment and the high performances required for machine protection. The preliminary design phase is ongoing. Paramount issues are being tackled, relative to wide spectral band optical design, material choice, and optomechanical difficulties due to the limited space available for this instrument in the ports, since many other diagnostics and services are also present. Recent progress of the diagnostic optical design and status of associated R&D are presented.