EU Spokesman: Ashton’s Intense Consultations in Progress

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton is continuing her intense contacts and consultations in the Swiss city of Geneva on Iran’s nuclear case, her spokesman said.

EU Spokesman: Ashton’s Intense Consultations in Progress

In a message on his Twitter page on Saturday morning, Michael Mann, the European Union foreign policy chief’s spokesman, said that Ashton is engaged in intense talks about Iran’s nuclear file in Geneva.

Delegations from the western states are consulting about details of yesterday's intensive talks between Iranian and world powers’ negotiators in Geneva, as the third day of talks is due to start later today with Russian and Chinese top diplomats expected to join.

According to Tasnim dispatches, the western delegations are holding separate meeting to consult on the details of the last round of talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).

They also are in contact with their capitals in a bid to brief senior officials about the outcomes of negotiations held in the last two days.

"The negotiations have reached (a) critical, very sensitive situation, and it needs decisions at higher levels," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters in Geneva.

Other meetings are expected to be held among parties on the sidelines of today’s talks.

The expected arrival of Russian foreign minister and China’s foreign minister or his deputy has fueled optimism that the presence of a full complement of top diplomats from the six countries negotiating with Iran was the prelude to the announcement of a deal.

The French, German and UK Foreign Ministers - Laurent Fabius, Guido Westerwelle and William Hague - are also in Geneva.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton, who has represented world powers at the talks, held a long meeting late into the night on Friday.

It broke up around 11:30 pm local time (1030 GMT), with Kerry saying afterward only that it had involved "a lot of work".

"Over the course of the evening, we continued to make progress as we worked to narrow the gaps. There is more work to do. The meetings will resume tomorrow morning," a senior State Department official said.

Kerry, who interrupted the itinerary of his tour to the Middle East and North Africa to join the talks, had earlier said that there were still "important gaps" between Iran and world powers.

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