Iran, Sextet to Hold Fresh Round of Nuclear Talks Tomorrow
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The Iranian team of nuclear negotiators arrived in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Monday to hold a fresh round of talks with the six major world powers over the Islamic Republic’s peaceful nuclear program.
Iran’s team of negotiators, led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left Tehran earlier today to Vienna to start the new round of negotiation with the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) as early as Tuesday, February 18.
Iran’s top negotiator, Zarif, and the European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who represents the six world powers in talks with Iran, will attend a working dinner tonight, while the talks will officially kick off on Tuesday morning.
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 Political and International Affairs Hamid Baeidinejad, Foreign Minister's Legal Adviser Davoud Mohammadnia, and Mohammad Amiri, director general for the safeguards affairs at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
A number of representatives from the AEOI also accompany the Iranian foreign minister in the forthcoming talks.
On the other side, Ashton will attend the meeting as the representative of the G5+1 countries, with Stephen Clement, one of her aides, and Helga Maria Schmid, EU's deputy secretary general for political affairs, in attendance.
In the upcoming talks, Russia will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the US by Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, Germany by Director-General for Political Affairs of the German Federal Foreign Office Hans-Dieter Lucas, Britain by Foreign Office Political Director Simon Gass, France by Foreign Ministry Director-General for Political and Security Affairs Jacques Audibert, and China by Wang Min.
The new round of talks, which are expected to be tight, technical and complicated, are aimed at finding an ultimate, comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear program.
On November 24, 2013, Iran and the Group 5+1 (also known as P5+1 or E3+3) signed a six-month deal on Tehran’s nuclear program in Geneva after several rounds of tight negotiations.
Based on the interim deal (the Joint Plan of Action), 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 suspend its 20% enrichment for a period of six months.
The breakthrough deal, which has come into effect since January 20, stipulates that over the course of six months, Iran and the six countries will draw up a comprehensive nuclear deal which will lead to a lifting of the whole sanctions on Iran.
Earlier on Saturday, Foreign Minister Zarif said in a televised speech in Tehran that a comprehensive agreement on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program will be possible within a 6-month span, provided that the other side shows goodwill and wins the Iranian nation’s trust.
“I believe there is a real possibility of reaching the accord within the first six months (of the final step), provided that the other side has goodwill,” Zarif noted.
He further pointed to main topics to be discussed in the forthcoming talks in Vienna, saying “an agenda for the negotiations” will be one of the subjects that will be mooed in the very first session.
“The procedure to follow up on the issue will be another topic of the first session, and also the frameworks which we believe are necessary for constructive negotiations,” he added.
And later on Sunday, Hamid Baeidinejad, a member of Iran’s team of nuclear negotiators, said the use of new advanced centrifuges will be among the main issues of discussion in the upcoming talks between Iran and the sextet of world powers.
He also added that Iran’s right to use the new advanced centrifuges should be considered and resolved in the final comprehensive agreement.
“We will certainly not agree (to a proviso) that Iran should not be able to replace its present centrifuges with new and advanced ones,” Baeidinejad underscored.
He noted that the issue of Arak heavy-water reactor will also be on the agenda in the talks, and stated, “We are definitely seeking to keep the reactor.”
Arak heavy-water reactor, also known as IR-40, uses natural uranium oxide fuel and is designed to produce radio medicines and also 40 megawatts of power.