TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s Foreign Minister and top negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who presides over the delegations of the six world powers in nuclear talks with Iran, started a bilateral meeting in Geneva minutes ago.
The meeting between Zarif and Ashton, which started less than an hour after the end of the second multilateral talks between the Iranian and world powers’ team of negotiators this afternoon, is the second bilateral meeting between the two top diplomats in less than 24 hours.
Zarif had a dinner meeting with Ashton Monday night a few hours after his arrival in Geneva.
Ashton’s Spokesman Michael Mann told the media on Tuesday that the atmosphere reigning the talks in the last night dinner meeting was different from the previous ones.
Negotiating teams from Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) had two rounds of talks in Geneva on Tuesday.
In the morning session, Zarif started the talks by presenting Tehran’s new package of proposals to the opposite side, but he didn’t attend the afternoon session, and his deputy Abbas Araqchi took the lead for the Iranian side. Zarif has stated that he would come back to lead the Iranian team in the talks when his counterparts from the Group 5+1 take part in the negotiations. At present, the talks are held at the level of deputy foreign ministers.
Following the morning session, Washington officials declared that they welcome any bilateral meeting with Iran on the sidelines of the multilateral talks.
Also on the sidelines of the Iran-world powers meetings this morning and afternoon, Zarif told the media that his team is not seeking for concessions and, of course, would not give concessions either, explaining that only a win-win solution could end the standoff between the two sides.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the western members of the 5+1 should declare that they are not seeking a regime change in Tehran.
Tehran’s new package of proposals includes a three-staged plan, each of which has a specific timeline and goal, according to the Iranian team of negotiators.
The Iranian diplomats have also stressed that the new package again includes an emphasis on Iran’s right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes.
Following the second session today, a diplomatic source present in the negotiations said the delegations of the six world powers have shown a positive and constructive reaction to the details of Tehran’s proposals.
“The atmosphere dominating the meeting was positive and constructive and the negotiations will continue tomorrow morning,” a diplomatic source close to the Iranian delegation told FNA after the end of the second session of the Tuesday talks between Tehran and the G5+1 (the US, Russia, France, Britain and China plus Germany).
“Both sides (Iran and the six world powers) showed a serious attitude during the meeting and negotiations and several questions and answers were asked and answered face-to-face,” the source added.
The diplomat said the two sides discussed “the details of Iran’s three-staged proposal” and “the Iranian side elaborated on its plan”.
Following the morning session, Araqchi, who is also the spokesman of the Iranian team, told reporters that “the negotiations were held in a highly positive atmosphere and the two sides were serious when speaking of their issues”.
Asked about Iran’s new package of proposals, Araqchi said the package is “confidential” and the two sides have agreed to keep it secret until an agreement is made.
“Mr. Zarif had a powerpoint presentation of the plan in details, the generalities of the plan were discussed in the morning session and the details will be studied by (the two sides’) political directors in the afternoon,” he added.
Araqchi said that the world powers have welcomed the general points of Tehran’s proposals on the settlement the country’s nuclear standoff with the West, adding that Iran is seeking to encourage the opposite side to pursue a common goal for the negotiations.
“The Group 5+1 member states welcomed the generalities of Iran’s plan,” Araqchi told reporters.
He noted that the two sides would decide the date for the next round of talks, which, he said, will likely be in the next month, in their Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday sessions.
Araqchi said that Iran and the world powers should take certain steps for the settlement of Tehran’s nuclear issue, and added, “The time of these steps should be specified because Iran does not want to move in an ambiguous atmosphere.”
He also stressed that Iran has defined a common goal for the negotiations, and said, “Unlike the previous meetings that every side entered the negotiations to attain its own goals, this time we will try to design a common goal and then move towards it.”
Araqchi expressed the hope that the representatives of Iran and the G5+1 would be able to make a decision on the date of the next round of the talks between the two sides during the Wednesday session.
Iran and the world powers held a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York in September and decided to meet again in Geneva on October 15-16.
Late in September, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that his government has full authority from Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei for talks with the world’s six major powers.
“The government has sufficient authority to gain substantial results in talks with the Group 5+1,” President Rouhani told reporters at a press conference in New York on the sidelines of a UN meeting where he also held phone talks with US President Barack Obama.
“The government has the necessary authority in nuclear talks and I have chosen the foreign minister for negotiations,” he added.
The Iranian president pointed to the September meeting of foreign ministers of Iran and the six world powers in New York, and said, “The meetings of Dr. Zarif with G5+1’s foreign ministers were held in a positive and inspiring atmosphere and we hope that these talks could soon bear tangible results.”
Iran and the G5+1 have had several rounds of talks in the last few years. Before the New York meeting, representatives of the seven countries had two days of intensive negotiations in Almaty on April 5 and 6, but without making any major breakthrough.
Prior to the Almaty II talks, Iran and the six powers had met in Almaty on February 26-27.
Also, between the two rounds of Almaty talks, experts from Iran and the G5+1 reviewed the two sides’ proposals in a meeting in Istanbul from March 17 to 18. The two sides’ experts also outlined the topics of the talks between the chief negotiators of Iran and the G5+1 for the Almaty II meeting.
Prior to Almaty, Iran and the G5+1 had held three rounds of talks in Geneva, two rounds in Istanbul, one round in Baghdad and one round in Moscow in June 2012.
In Baghdad talks on May 2012, Iran offered a comprehensive package of step-by-step proposals to the six world powers. The Iranian step-by-step proposals offered practical steps to the western sides.
Iran also presented a package of proposals to the world powers in May 2009 offering collective cooperation in resolving major world issues.
The 2009 package of proposals which was presented by the then Iranian Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, to the ambassadors and representatives of the six major powers was an all-embracing package offering cooperation between Iran and the West on solutions to a wide variety of global issues.
Iran’s ex-chief negotiator and Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Saeed Jalili led the Iranian side during the last few rounds of talks with the G5+1 while delegations of the world powers were headed by Catherine Ashton. But following the June presidential election in Iran, which sent Dr. Hassan Rouhani to power, Tehran decided to change its team of negotiators and entrusted the leading role in the negotiations to Zarif and his team, although the SNSC still continues coordinating the talks. Tehran has also replaced Jalili in the SNSC Secretariat with former Defense Minister Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani. Jalili is now a member of Iran’s Expediency Council (EC) which is chaired by former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
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