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US Talks “Useful”

US Talks “Useful” US Talks “Useful”

A senior nuclear negotiator has said the consultations held between Iran and the United States in Geneva on Thursday and Friday were instrumental in advancing broader nuclear talks with the major powers. 

Abbas Araqchi told IRNA on Friday the talks were “useful”, expressing hope that the discussions would help narrow gaps in negotiating positions. 

In addition, he said the two sides are still far apart on various issues. 

The meeting between senior Iranian and US officials was the second time they held talks in Geneva over the past month.   

Deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi headed the Iranian delegation at the talks and the US delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman. 

Although the United States is only one of the major powers involved in the international diplomacy on the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program, its bilateral talks with Iran on the issue are highly significant because the severest sanctions on Iran in connection with its nuclear activities have been imposed by Washington.  

Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are engaged in talks on a long-term settlement to the dispute, which has dragged on for over a decade. They failed to meet a self-imposed July 20 deadline to work out a final deal and agreed to extend the talks until November 24.  

The final deal is expected to impose constraints on Iran’s nuclear work for a specified period of time in exchange for a phased lifting of the sanctions which have negatively affected the country’s economy. 

The next round of high-level nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 is scheduled to be held in New York on September 18 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.

The office of European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who coordinates the nuclear talks on behalf of the six major powers, also announced on Thursday the New York talks would be preceded by bilateral meetings between Iran and the European countries involved in the negotiations at the level of political directors in Vienna on September 11.

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