TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham announced on Wednesday that the date for the next round of talks between Iran and the G5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) will be set after Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton meet in New York later this month.
“This issue (the date) will be determined after Zarif and Ashton meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Summit in New York on September 22,” Afkham said today.
She underlined that the Iranian foreign minister and the EU foreign policy chief will discuss continuation of talks, viewpoints, previous stances and proposals for continuing talks between Iran and the G5+1.
Last week, the Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman reiterated that the upcoming meeting between Zarif and Ashton in New York will not be a part of the talks between Tehran and the six world powers whose last round was held in Almaty.
“Mr. Zarif and Ms. Ashton will hold a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York and this will be the first contact (between the two sides) after the start of operation by Iran’s 11th government, and different issues will be discussed and reviewed in this meeting,” Afkham said in her first weekly press conference in Tehran after being appointed as the foreign ministry spokeswoman.
“The meeting should not be seen as a round of negotiations with the G5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany),” she stressed, adding that the trend of the nuclear negotiations will be announced following the Zarif-Ashton meeting in New York.
Zarif and Ashton are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting in New York on September 22.
The Iranian foreign minister on Friday confirmed his telephone conversation with Ashton, and said, “We agreed to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting” to follow up on Iran’s nuclear issue.
Earlier this month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani officially assigned the Foreign Ministry to take charge of the future nuclear talks with the Group 5+1.
Rouhani shifted the leading role in nuclear talks with the world powers from the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) to the country’s foreign ministry.
Earlier, Michael Mann, Ashton’s spokesman, announced the readiness of the G5+1 to resume a fresh round of talks with Iran.
“We are in touch with the Iranian side,” Mann said on Thursday, adding, “We stand ready to resume negotiations as soon as possible.”
Iran and the Group 5+1 have held several rounds of talks on a range of issues, with the main focus being on Iran’s nuclear energy program.
The two sides wrapped up their latest round of negotiations on April 6 in the Kazakh city of Almaty. An earlier meeting had been held in the city on February 26-27.
The US, Israel and some of their allies claim that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with Washington and the European Union using the unfounded allegation as a pretext to impose sanctions on Iran.
Tehran strongly rejects the groundless claim over its nuclear activities, maintaining that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
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