Implementation of Geneva Deal Expected in Late January: Negotiator
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An Iranian deputy foreign minister said any success in the expert-level talks between Tehran and the six major world powers will lay the ground for the implementation of the Geneva nuclear deal as early as late January 2014.
Senior experts representing Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain -- plus Germany are scheduled to resume their expert-level talks in the Swiss city of Geneva on December 30.
The forthcoming talks will be aimed at finding ways of putting into practice the nuclear deal signed between the two sides in November.
Iran and the Group 5+1 (also known as P5+1 or E3+3) on November 24 signed a six-month deal on Tehran’s nuclear program based on which the world powers agreed to suspend some non-essential sanctions and to impose no new nuclear-related bans in return for Tehran's decision to freeze parts of its nuclear activities and to allow more inspection of its nuclear facilities.
The goal is to create a breathing space for a comprehensive agreement to be negotiated that the sides hope will be able to resolve for good the standoff over Iran's nuclear program after a decade of on-off meetings and failed attempts.
Speaking to an academic gathering here in Tehran on Sunday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi, who is also one of the country's nuclear negotiators, said the success in the upcoming talks will pave the way for implementation of the Geneva accord.
He said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who oversees diplomacy with Iran on behalf of the six nations, are scheduled to conduct regular negotiations within the next five months.
“I guess if the expert-level talks in Geneva go on successfully, the implementation of the Geneva interim nuclear deal will take place later in January,” he added.
Araqchi further pointed to a recent motion proposed by the country’s lawmakers calling for an increase in uranium enrichment to the purity level of 60%, and said, “60 percent enrichment is the parliament’s idea, and we have to carry out whatever the parliament passes.”
This comes as some 200 Iranian parliamentarians have put forward a motion that, if approved, will oblige the administration to enrich uranium at the 60% purity level in case fresh western sanctions are imposed on the country.
Seyed Mahdi Mousavinejad, a member of the parliament’s energy commission, had earlier described the move as a "gesture of support for the country’s nuclear negotiators in talks with the world powers."
“The final approval of the motion will obligate the administration to… enrich uranium at the 60 percent purity level if the (Group) 5+1 imposes fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he told Tasnim on Wednesday.
On Thursday, December 19, a group of bipartisan US senators introduced new legislation to impose more sanctions against Iran despite the nuclear deal reached between Tehran and the world powers in Geneva last month.
The new sanctions bill seeks to enforce a total embargo on Iran's oil exports over the next two years and to choke off Tehran's ability to access any of its revenue held in foreign bank accounts. It also aims to curtail Iran's ability to gain revenue from economic sectors so far not significantly hit by sanctions, such as the mining, engineering and real estate industries.
The Senate bill came only a week after the US Treasury Department on December 12 slapped sanctions against more than a dozen companies and individuals for evading US sanctions against Iran. The blacklisting is widely seen as an attempt to head off moves in Congress to impose tougher sanctions that would be in clear breach of the Geneva agreement.