TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Top US negotiator who conducted talks with Iran as part of the G+1 said the Iranian delegation was prepared for candid, detailed and substantive, describing the tone and manner of this round of talks as really different.
“Foreign Minister Zarif and his delegation came prepared for detailed, substantive discussion with a candor that I certainly have not heard in the two years I’ve been meeting with Iranians,” US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.
The discussions in Geneva for two days brought together Iranian officials and representatives of the G5+1 – the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – also known as the E3+3 or P5+1.
But she said resolving Iran’s nuclear case could take a long time, saying, “This is highly technical work, when you’re talking about a nuclear program,” and that all negotiators knew that they were unlikely to immediately reach concrete agreements.
These talks were for the first time conducted in English, something Sherman said increased the pace the ability to have direct and candid discussions.
“They have given us their thoughts, their ideas; we’ve given them our thoughts, our ideas,” she said.
The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, also made similar remarks, saying Iran’s proposal showed “a level of seriousness and substance that we had not seen before”, but he cautioned that no one should expect a quick breakthrough.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a press conference in Geneva that the Islamic Republic was “optimistic” that it could reach a common goal with the other side.
“The negotiations show both sides are serious and want to create common ground,” said Zarif who stressed the need for political will to address the existing problems and to “move ahead.”
Similarly, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who oversees diplomacy with Iran on behalf of the six world powers, said the sides had their most detailed talks ever” on Iran’s nuclear program.”
The joint statement, read out by Catherine Ashton at the end of the two-day talks, said Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “presented an outline of a plan as a proposed basis for negotiation” and the talks were “substantive and forward looking.”
The sides have also decided to hold the next round of their talks on November 7-8 in Switzerland, in advance of which scientific and sanctions experts will convene to address differences and to develop practical steps.
On Tuesday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who was taking a lead role in the negotiations, met Wendy Sherman, the third bilateral contact between the two nations since President Hassan Rouhani’s election in June. This followed a meeting between Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry, which was capped by a telephone call between President Rouhani and President Barack Obama late last month.
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