Iran, Sextet Nearing Final Stages of Expert-Level Talks
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Geneva is hosting yet another round of expert-level talks between Iran and the six major world powers, which have gathered in the Swiss city ahead of the New Year’s Eve to figure out how to implement a landmark nuclear deal they signed onto in November.
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 have started to hold the third round of their negotiations in a month, as such expert-level talks appear to be closer to the final phase.
This fresh round of the talks, now in progress, is planned to last only one day because of the New Year holidays.
The ongoing expert-level talks are 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.
Earlier on December 9, the two sides held a meeting of nuclear, sanctions and finance experts in the Austrian capital of Vienna, which also involved representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
But the four-day talks in Vienna came to a halt when 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.
The US Treasury Department on December 12 slapped sanctions against more than a dozen companies and individuals for evading US sanctions against Iran.
Thereafter, Iran and the six countries convened another expert-level meeting in Geneva on December 19-22.
And now, they have met again in the Swiss city to develop mechanisms for implementing the interim deal signed in November.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi, who is also one of the country's nuclear negotiators, said on Sunday that the success in the fresh round of 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.
During the ongoing talks in Geneva, 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.
And Stephen Clement, who is an aide to the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, heads the opposite negotiating team which was made up of technical experts from the six countries.