Political Directors Review Nuclear Positions

Political Directors Review  Nuclear PositionsPolitical Directors Review  Nuclear Positions

Political directors from Iran and the six major powers held a meeting in Geneva on Sunday in an effort to narrow differences in their positions on a comprehensive agreement to end the long-running standoff over Tehran's nuclear work.

EU political director Helga Schmid chaired the closed-door Geneva talks at the EU diplomatic mission in Geneva, attended by officials from Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.  

Acting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman led the US delegation, while Iran was represented by deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi.

Iranian and US delegations had held four days of lengthy bilateral nuclear discussions in Geneva and Paris from Wednesday to Saturday.

"Today is to take stock of where all the various meetings take us and how we can take this forward in a broad format," a diplomat told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Time is running short and it's the hope of Beijing that all parties will seize that historical opportunity by racing against the time and by doing two things: first is to adopt a pragmatic and a flexible approach with wisdom and secondly is to demonstrate with possible and maximum political will, with resolute political decisions," China's envoy Wang Qun told reporters in Geneva on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday he firmly believes that the way is paved for reaching a solution.

"On many issues, the matters are clear and we feel that there is only a need for a political decision… the western countries and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) should come to a definite conclusion that Iran's nuclear issue can be resolved only though taking the path of negotiations," Zarif told Iranian state television on Saturday before leaving Geneva for Tehran after a four-day tour of European countries which took him to the Swiss city, Berlin, Paris and Brussels to hold talks with senior western diplomats, inducing US Secretary of State John Kerry, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to help advance the negotiations on a final deal to resolve the 12-year nuclear dispute.

Zarif also said, "The western countries tested the approach to pressure Iran and it was not effective because negotiations and pressure cannot be used together. If the western countries want to pursue negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, they should make a political decision, although it may be difficult for some countries to abandon their pressure approach."

Iran and the six major powers in November last year failed for a second time to meet a self-imposed deadline to build on an interim deal they signed in November 2013 to achieve a long-term settlement and decided to extend the preliminary accord and their talks on a comprehensive agreement by June 30. They aim to work out the outline of the final deal by March 31.