Zarif to Meet European Counterparts in Luxembourg

Zarif to Meet European  Counterparts in LuxembourgZarif to Meet European  Counterparts in Luxembourg

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will leave for Luxembourg on Monday to hold meetings with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and his counterparts from the three European parties to negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program.

As all the European foreign ministers will be in Luxembourg to attend a meeting of the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council, the city has been chosen as the venue for the ministerial talks.

Zarif's deputies, Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi, who are in Vienna for nuclear negotiations, are expected to join him in Luxembourg, IRNA reported on Friday.

The current round of talks in the Austrian capital started on Wednesday with the aim of completing the text of a final nuclear deal.

Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, France, the United States, Russia, China and Germany) have set themselves a deadline of June 30 to iron out the details of an outline agreement they reached on April 2 in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

The expert team, led by the foreign ministry director general for political affairs, Hamid Baeidinejad, will stay and continue talks in Vienna.

Araqchi and Takht-Ravanchi sat down with EU political director Helga Schmid for discussions in two sessions on Friday.   

On the same day, deputy foreign ministers of the six nations held a meeting to coordinate their positions. The meeting was significant in view of the recent remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry.    

Kerry suggested that Washington would not insist that Iran answer unresolved questions about its past nuclear activities.

Speaking to reporters via teleconference on Wednesday, Kerry said, "We're not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another," Reuters reported.

"What we're concerned about is going forward," Kerry said. "It's critical to us to know that going forward, those (alleged military) activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way."

Iran denies the allegation that it may have carried out nuclear weapons-related research in the past, saying its nuclear program is meant only for peaceful applications such as generating electricity.

Zarif will likely meet Kerry next week.

Meanwhile, Russia's lead nuclear negotiator said political directors of the P5+1 and Iran on Friday focused on narrowing political gaps, working out the technical details and legal aspects of the nuclear agreement, Sputnik reported.

"The work is being carried out in three dimensions: settlement of political questions, analysis and working out of the legal implications of the impending deal. The third point is (technicalities)."