Renewed Push for Nuclear Deal

Renewed Push for Nuclear Deal
Renewed Push for Nuclear Deal

Senior foreign ministry officials from Iran and the major powers held a new round of nuclear talks in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday for the first time since they agreed in November to extend negotiations on a final deal.

No details of the talks which lasted for two hour were immediately available, but the Iranian negotiators were scheduled to meet separately with representatives of the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany).

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday that the future of the Arak heavy water facility and existing sanctions against Iran are among some of the issues that remain "unresolved" in the talks. "All these questions, unfortunately, are still in the category of unresolved issues," Ryabkov said, adding that assessing which issue is a more pressing one would be harmful to the process of achieving a positive result in Iran talks, the Russian news agency Sputnik reported.  

The talks in Geneva were the first since Iran and the P5+1 failed to meet a second self-imposed deadline last month to reach a long-term settlement to the long-running dispute over Tehran’s nuclear work and decided to extend the negotiations on a comprehensive deal for seven more months until the end of next June.

They aim to reach a general agreement by March which would lay out the key points of a final pact and use the remaining time to finalize the details of the accord.  

The two sides had reached a preliminary nuclear agreement in Geneva in November 2013, under which Iran agreed to temporarily scale down parts of its nuclear activities in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

Diplomats from Iran and the United States met on Monday and Tuesday in Geneva and discussed "in detail" Tehran’s nuclear program.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was leading the Iranian delegation in the meetings with the US negotiating team headed by Acting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

Deputy Secretary General for EU’s External Action Service Helga Schmid and Stephen Clement, an aide to EU Special Advisor Catherin Ashton, joined for part of the second day of meeting between Iran and the US.

On Sunday, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Ali Akbar Salehi said the parties to the talks have managed to narrow gaps on technical and legal issues.  He added, “Only political aspects need to be addressed, and if the other party shows sufficient resolve, there is a high chance of signing a deal.”