Iran, US Begin Nuclear Talks in Lausanne
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A fresh round of diplomatic talks on Tehran’s nuclear case kicked off in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Sunday with a meeting between Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
The nuclear negotiations are expected to run until March 20, before the start of the new Iranian year.
The Iranian team is led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, while US Secretary of State John Kerry heads the American team.
Zarif is planned to leave Lausanne for Belgium’s Brussels on Monday to attend a round of talks, hosted by the European Union.
“As part of the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini will host in Brussels next Monday, 16 March 2015, a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Germany, Frank Walter Steinmeier, of France, Laurent Fabius, of Great Britain, Philip Hammond, and of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif," the EU said in a press release on March 10.
Speaking to reporters on board a flight en route to Switzerland on Sunday, Zarif said Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) are “very close to the solutions.”
The top Iranian negotiator also noted that a final deal is “certainly within reach” in the new round of talks if the other side has the necessary political will.
Iran and the group of six countries are in talks to hammer out a final agreement to end more than a decade of impasse over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.
On November 24, 2013, the two sides signed a six-month deal in the Swiss city of Geneva.
The Geneva deal (the Joint Plan of Action) came into effect in January 2014 and expired in July, when the parties decided to extend negotiations until November 24 in the hope of clinching a final deal that would end a decade of impasse over Tehran’s peaceful nuclear energy program.
After failing to nail down a lasting accord by the self-imposed November 24 deadline, the parties once again decided to extend the deadline for seven more months, until end of June 2015.