Iran, Six Powers Start Fresh Round of N. Talks in Geneva
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Senior diplomats representing Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) started a fresh round of negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Geneva.
The talks started with a brief meeting between Iranian and G5+1 chief negotiators, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Catherine Ashton, at 18:00 local time (20:30 Tehran time).
According to Tasnim dispatches, the talks will be continued at the level of deputy chief negotiators.
This is the second time in a month that Geneva is hosting representatives from Iran and the group of six major world powers. They had three days of intensive talks on November 7-9.
During the previous round of talks, the two sides managed to narrow their differences on Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, though there were hitches that stopped them from reaching an interim deal at the end of the talks.
In the fresh round, the team of Iranian negotiators includes 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.
Earlier today, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who represents the six world powers in talks with Iran, agreed that the first session of nuclear talks in Geneva would begin as early as today.
The two senior negotiators made the decision after a bilateral meeting in the Swiss city this afternoon.
During the meeting, which started at 14:30 local time in the Swiss city, Zarif and Ashton reviewed the scheduled programs for the negotiations and set the framework for the upcoming meetings.
The meeting was also attended by the Iranian nuclear negotiators and Helga Maria Schmid, deputy to Catherine Ashton.
In the meantime, there are speculations that foreign ministers of the six world powers might fly to Geneva later.
According to Tasnim dispatches, speculation about the possible visit of G5+1 foreign ministers to Geneva has been fueled after the Intercontinental Hotel rooms were reserved for those top diplomats.
Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said there is opportunity to reach an agreement in nuclear talks between Iran and the six world powers.
Hague said on Wednesday that a nuclear deal with Iran was within reach as differences between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany were narrow.
"The differences that remain between the parties are narrow and I believe they can be bridged with political will and commitment," Hague told a news conference in Istanbul, adding “there is an opportunity here to make an agreement.”