Iran, World Powers to Start "Important" Talks: FM

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton attended a working dinner in Austria’s Vienna and discussed the ways to begin with the new round of nuclear talks between Tehran and the six world powers.

Iran, World Powers to Start "Important" Talks: FM

The bilateral meeting took place in the Austrian capital on Monday night, as the two officials came up with plans on how to commence the fresh round of nuclear talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters after the working dinner, Zarif stressed that Iran will “initiate very important talks with goodwill and the political determination in a bid to achieve an (final) agreement.”

The Vienna negotiations are due to kick off officially at 11 a.m. local time (1330 Tehran time), with a symbolic bilateral meeting between Zarif and Ashton.

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.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian foreign minister and the country’s lead negotiator noted that the Joint Plan of Action could be extended for another six months.

However, Zarif added, an ultimate agreement on Iran’s peaceful nuclear program will be within reach over a six-month period provided that the G5+1 countries enter the talks with the necessary resolve to reach an accord.

Zarif also noted that nobody should expect any agreement following the first round of the fresh negotiations, and added, “We have announced earlier that the talks have entered the first stage of the final step… We are not even going to work on any text in this stage.”

“We are going to discuss the topics in this stage, to propose the topics, and to discuss the frameworks and mechanisms to reach the (final) agreement.”

As regards the possibility of finalizing an agreed text in the nuclear talks, Zarif stated, “I think it might take one or two more sessions before we can begin with writing (a document) and providing a text.”

In the meantime, Catherine Ashton, who represents the six world powers in talks with Iran, told reporters after the working dinner with Zarif that she felt hopeful about the negotiations.

“I am hopeful about the talks,” she pointed out.

Before the outset of the talks on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Zarif will reportedly hold a meeting with Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano in the Austrian capital to have a conversation about Iran’s nuclear case.

After the symbolic bilateral meeting between Zarif and Ashton Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi and Helga Maria Schmid, EU's deputy secretary general for political affairs, are planned to handle the talks.

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