Top Negotiator Calls Iran-Powers Talks "Useful"

20 March 2014 | 19:25 Code : 1930322 Latest Headlines

(FNA)- Iran's top negotiator and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described his two-day talks with the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) in Vienna as useful, and said the high-profile meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday focused on technical issues which need to be addressed for a final comprehensive deal.

"We discussed a series of useful and serious issues, including (uranium enrichment), Arak reactor, peaceful nuclear cooperation and sanctions during the two-day talks," Zarif said after two days of negotiations with the delegations of the six world powers talks in Vienna on Wednesday.

He noted that he and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton ended the two-day talks which are aimed at achieving a comprehensive agreement and will continue the discussions next month.

"We will meet again in Vienna on April 7-9 and we will continue our talks about a comprehensive agreement," Zarif said.

He explained that expert-level talks will also be held a few days before his next meeting with Ashton on April 7-9.

The experts talks will be held on April 3 to 5.

FNA dispatches from Vienna said Wednesday that the senior negotiators participating in the fresh round of talks on Iran's nuclear program which started on Tuesday and ended today, have decided to meet again in the Austrian capital on April 7 to 9.

Iran and the G5+1's representatives had several sessions of talks in Vienna on Tuesday and wrapped up this round of negotiations on Wednesday afternoon after a meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton.

On November 24, Iran and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members sealed a six-month Joint Plan of Action to lay the groundwork for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over the latter's nuclear energy program.

In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the Sextet of the world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran and impose no nuclear-related sanctions on Iran during the six-month period.

Iran and the six world powers had an expert meeting in Vienna, Austria, on December 9. The negotiations were scheduled to continue until December 13, but the Iranian negotiators cut short the talks and returned home in protest at the US breach of the Geneva agreement by blacklisting a dozen companies and individuals for evading Washington’s sanctions.

After that US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to soothe Tehran’s anger over Washington’s fresh sanctions in a phone call to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif. Then, the experts meetings continued and yielded results. The two sides agreed on January 20 as the date for starting implementation of the interim nuclear deal.

Eventually on January 20, a confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Iran has halted its 20-percent enrichment activity under the Geneva deal. Hours later the US and the EU removed part of their sanctions against Tehran.

Late in February, the UN nuclear watchdog agency, IAEA, announced that Iran is complying with its obligations under the Geneva nuclear deal.

In its new report, the IAEA said 20-percent uranium enrichment “is no longer taking place” by Iran as agreed in an agreement with the six world powers.

It confirmed that no additional uranium enrichment centrifuges have been installed at Iran’s Natanz and Fordo nuclear facilities. The report added that Iran has also provided the IAEA with an updated Design Information Questionnaire (DIQ) for the facility in Arak.

“The measures implemented by Iran and the further commitments it has undertaken represent a positive step forward,” the IAEA report said.

The February report of the IAEA came as Iran and the G5+1 held three days of talks headed by Zarif and Ashton from February 18-20.

Zarif's talks with Ashton focused on finding a lasting solution to the nuclear standoff between the two sides. Both the top diplomats voiced satisfaction in their negotiations, and announced that they would start a fresh round of talks in Vienna on March 17 to achieve a comprehensive and permanent deal.

tags: iran vienna ashton iaea

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