Top Diplomats to Discuss Iran’s N. Program in Geneva

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Senior diplomats representing the Islamic Republic of Iran and the six world powers are scheduled to meet in Geneva on Tuesday and Wednesday to hold a fresh round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

Top Diplomats to Discuss Iran’s N. Program in Geneva

Top diplomats from Iran and the G5+1, also known as P5+1, which includes the five permanent members of the UN Security Council --Russia, China, the US, Britain and France-- as well as Germany are to meet in the Swiss city of Geneva on October 15 and 16 to discuss Iran's nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will head the Iranian delegation, but sources close to the Iranian team revealed earlier that Zarif will be present in the negotiations only if other parties are represented by their foreign ministers.

The team of Iranian negotiators will include Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi, Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi, Foreign Ministry's Director-General for the Economic and Specialized International Affairs Hamid Ba'eedinejad, Foreign Minister's Legal Adviser Davoud Mohammadnia, and Mohammad Amiri from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Some sources have quoted Araqchi as saying he will lead the Iranian team in the talks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and representatives from the G5+1 countries.

On the other side, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will attend the forthcoming meeting as the representative of the G5+1 countries.

Helga Maria Schmid, EU's deputy secretary general for political affairs, will accompany Ashton in the negotiations.

In the forthcoming talks, Russia will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the US by Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, Germany by Director-General for Political Affairs of the German Federal Foreign Office Hans-Dieter Lucas, Britain by Foreign Office Political Director Simon Gass, France by Foreign Ministry Director-General for Political and Security Affairs Jacques Audibert, and China by a yet-to-be-named diplomat.

This will be the first round of negotiations since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office in early August.

The last meeting between Iran and the G5+1 in the Kazakh city of Almaty ended with an impasse in April.

Zarif had announced earlier that world powers negotiating with Tehran over its nuclear program must come up with new proposals before talks in Geneva.

"The previous P5+1 plan given to Iran belongs to history and they must enter talks with a new point of view," he said last week.

Zarif has recently said that he and his negotiating team are going to offer a new set of proposals during the upcoming talks with the six world powers in Geneva.

“I will put forward a new plan to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear activities during the next round of talks with the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, US, Britain, France and Germany),” Zarif said, without elaborating on the contents of the new plan.

The United States and the European Union have imposed illegal unilateral sanctions against Iran under the pretext that Iran's nuclear energy program may include a military component.

Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that numerous inspections of its nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have invariably failed to find any diversion towards military purposes.

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