Russia Role in Nuclear Talks Positive

Russia Role in Nuclear Talks Positive
Russia Role in Nuclear Talks Positive

A senior nuclear negotiator has praised Russia and China for playing "important" and "prominent" roles in the talks between Iran and the major powers over Tehran's nuclear program.

"Members of the Russian delegation, especially Mr. (Sergei) Ryabkov (the Russian deputy foreign minister who represents Moscow at nuclear talks), have always played a positive and constructive role over the course of nuclear negotiations and put forward creative and useful proposals to facilitate the process of working out a final deal," Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said in a meeting with Russian Ambassador to Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan on Saturday, the Fars news agency reported.

He said Moscow and Beijing have demonstrated that they are resolved to help settle Iran's nuclear dispute and underlined the need for continuation of close consultations between Iranian, Russian, and Chinese delegations.

The Russian envoy, for his part, expressed hope that Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) would reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement and said Russia is determined to help the talks reach a conclusion by the November 24 target date.

Iran and the six major powers (The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany) are engaged in talks with the aim of finding a long-term settlement to the nuclear dispute, which has dragged on for over a decade.

The latest round of high-level talks between Iran and the P5+1, which was held in New York from September 19 to 26, did not make any significant progress.

Iranian and US negotiators, led by Araqchi and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, are scheduled to meet in Vienna today to try to narrow differences in negotiating positions.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who coordinates the talks on behalf of the P5+1, will also meet in the Austrian capital on Wednesday to help advance international diplomacy on the nuclear dispute.

The main stumbling blocks in the talks are the future scope of Tehran's uranium enrichment program, the mechanism of lifting sanction, the duration of the final deal which would impose temporary constraints on Iran's nuclear work, and the planned Arak heavy water reactor.

  Cooperation With IAEA

Elsewhere, Araqchi said Iran is determined to continue collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) within the framework of a cooperation agreement Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog signed last November in Tehran to help resolve the remaining issues with regard to Iran's nuclear activities. The IAEA is conducting an investigation into what it calls possible military dimensions of Tehran's nuclear program and is verifying Iran's compliance with the terms of an interim nuclear accord Iran and the major powers reached in Geneva last November, under which Tehran agreed to temporarily scale down its nuclear activities in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

Iran denies the allegation that it may have been seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons and says its nuclear work is meant only for peaceful purposes, such as power generation.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to help expedite the process (of cooperation with the UN nuclear agency) and is ready to resolve the issues with the agency one after another," Araqchi said.

  Regular Contacts With Russia, China

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham has also said Tehran has "regular contacts" with Moscow and Beijing about nuclear talks, ISNA reported on Monday.

She also described as "positive" the cooperation by Russia and China in diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the nuclear issue.