Expert from Iran, Sextet Begin Talks on Implementing Nuclear Deal
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Expert-level Talks between Iran and six major world powers began on Thursday in the Swiss city of Geneva, a week after the first round of such talks which are aimed at developing mechanisms for implementing the interim deal signed last month came to a halt.
Expert-level talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain -- plus Germany resumed in Geneva on Thursday, with sides aiming to find ways of putting into practice the nuclear deal they signed onto on November 24.
As part of the accord, Iran accepted to suspend parts of its nuclear program for six months and allow for more inspections of its nuclear facilities in exchange for modest sanctions relief and a promise by western powers not to impose new nuclear-related sanctions.
During this confidence-building period, which has not yet begun, Iran and world powers aim to hammer out a long-term comprehensive accord to decisively end the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, which has been a further bone of contention betwen Iran and the West.
Hamid Baeedinejad, the director general for political and international affairs at Iran’s foreign ministry, leads the Iranian delegation made up of nuclear experts and experts on the banking, transport and oil sector sanctions.
Stephen Clement, who is an aide to the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, heads the opposite negotiating team which is made up of technical experts from the six countries.
Iran's deputy foreign minister and a chief negotiator Abbas Araqchi, who is not personally taking part in the expert-level negotiations, said earlier the talks are scheduled to last through Friday and that they could be extended into the weekend.
Experts held four days of talks in Vienna last week, but the Iranians walked out on December 12,after Washington expanded its sanctions blacklist against 19 firms and individuals it said were evading the already-existing sanctions against Tehran.
In a Tuesday meeting with Catherine Ashton in Brussels, 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.”
According to Araqchi, Tehran decided to attend the new round of talks after Ashton "made the assurance that the world powers, particularly the United States, will continue the talks in goodwill... and that they are serious about implementing the deal."
An unnamed Iranian official told the ISNA news agency that the representatives of the UN nuclear watchdog (the IAEA) have not been invited to the Thursday talks, but if necessary, they would join the talks.