Iran Lays Down Conditions for Resumption of N. Talks
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An Iranian deputy foreign minister and a top member of the nuclear negotiating team said the Islamic Republic would resume nuclear talks with six major world powers provided that the parties, particularly the US, stop taking provocative measures.
In a Tuesday meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Brussels, Seyed Abbas Araqchi criticized the US officials for adopting counterproductive stances towards Iran, and urged them to “refrain from making provocative moves and remarks and avoid excessive demands.”
“Affirming the necessity for avoiding measures that may cause misunderstanding, Lady Ashton ensured that the negotiating group, particularly the American side, will act accordingly, and she accepted that commitment to the original text of the deal is a prerequisite for agreement,” Araqchi added.
Today’s session in the Belgian capital was the first meeting between Ashton, who oversees diplomacy with Iran on behalf of six world states, and the Iranian diplomat since Tehran and six world powers -- the US, Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany -- struck a nuclear deal on November 24 in Geneva.
Expert-level talks between representatives from Iran and the G5+1 came to a halt in the Austrian capital of Vienna on December 12, after the US Treasury Department issued new sanctions against more than a dozen companies and individuals for allegedly evading US sanctions against Iran.
No date has been set for the deal between six world powers and Iran to take effect, but both sides hope that the talks will start soon.
The decision to penalize those companies and individuals for conducting prohibited business with Iran came just before the administration pleaded Congress once more not to impose any new sanctions on Tehran.
On Friday, Ashton’s spokesperson, Michael Mann, said the sides need more time to work out complex technical steps on implementing the Geneva deal.
“Reflecting the complexity of the technical issues discussed, it became clear that further work is needed,” he said, adding there would be consultations in capitals and talks were expected to continue soon.
In a related development, European Union governments pledged on Monday to suspend some sanctions against Iran as soon as the UN nuclear watchdog verifies that Tehran has kept its side of the bargain.
Under the Geneva deal struck between Iran and the G5+1, which brings together the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to roll back parts of its enrichment activities in return for the group's decision to suspend some non-essential sanctions and avoid making new nuclear-related sanction during the six-month period.